Most often, the project manager isn’t the boss of the people participating in the project, but it’s important to emphasize that no matter which position you have in the company, the project manager is the boss of the project. And even if you don’t have the managerial position in the group, you want to use some of the same tools managers use, when you work with your team.
There are many ways to do this, also dependent on your style and personality, but here are some good tips that have worked for me:
- Enthusiasm. Who wants to get involved in something delivered in a monotone voice and body language screaming “I just want to get this over with”? Right? It’s worth the effort to concentrate on adding both enthusiasm and energy to how you deliver your messages to your team, because make no mistake, it’s infectious! Of course you don’t want to go overboard and try to fake it, but take note of how much of a difference it makes. I’ve seen quite a few probably well meant management presentations done over the years, but when you sense that your boss really isn’t that exited about it, the likelihood that you will race back from the meeting and start implementing is rather slim.
- Take the lead. You can be given a responsibility, but more importantly, you can take responsibility. If you want to be seen as the leader of a project, you need work on it. You shouldn’t be afraid to stick your head out and start things up, and you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up and ask the hard questions along the way, if they are necessary for the success of the project.If not, you will soon see your own role reduced to note-taker getting ordered around. It goes against the whole idea of a project manager – you need to be the one who gets the project moving along in the right direction.
- Be flexible. The balance is that you fon’t want to get to rigid towards your team members. Even when there is a goal and a plan, the will be instances where you need to change plans, and you need to be prepared and willing to do that. I had an interesting conversation with a colleague of mine not too long ago. His view was that the most successful employees are the ones who are willing and able to work with moving targets. I you can accept that and embrace this notion, you won’t be too frustrated when things change around you.
- Listen up. Listen to your team members and be sure to also listen for what they don’t say. You wanna make sure that your team hasn’t just accepted a decision under false pretence. The best way to do this is to establish a more informal contact outside of meetings. Get on your feet and swing by your team members for a more casual talk about how things are going. You will find, that if you do this in a relaxed manner, you will get all sorts of valuable info both on problems but also on opportunities.
- Toughen up. If the project is going off track and some of your team members or suppliers simply aren’t delivering what they have agreed to or even compromising the work, you need to set things straight. A lot of people shy away from this out of fear as coming across to bossy, but there are situations where it’s the only option if you want to move the project forward. The earlier on in the project you address the problem, the more likely it is that you will avoid the huge conflicts.
- Smile! I’m not saying you should fake it big time, but everything goes just a little bit easier if it’s done in a positive and fun way. There’s no rule against having fun at work, and if you can work a bit of fun into an otherwise serious topic, by all means go for it!
I hope, you found food for thought in the article. Maybe you are already doing the things I mentioned or maybe you have run into other problems? I would love to hear about them, so drop me a comment below. And I would love, if you would share the post with your network – click on one of the buttons below.