Project Managers, do you have “project management class” or are you on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to navigating through your projects? Project management class describes a set of leadership qualities.
Take a moment and review these five traits common to project managers that possess project management class. Can the resources assigned to your project team apply these traits to you?
1. Project Managers that Say “Thank You”
It’s an understatement to say there are different types of project managers. There are project managers that walk around with a perpetual scowl on their face. There are those who rush up and down the hall as if everything is a crisis. There are those who are unflappable, regardless of how bad things are falling apart around them. Then, there are those project managers that never say “Thank You.”
You know the type. They walk around as if everyone’s purpose is to do their bidding. They barely know the names of the resources on the project, yet they expect everyone to jump through hoops to get their portion of the project done.
This person does jump through these hoops. They come in on weekends. They miss their kid’s baseball practice. They log in during the wee hours of the morning to troubleshoot an emergency issue that came up during testing. Does the project manager even remotely acknowledge this person’s contributions? No. This is not project management class.
Project management class is when you take the time to acknowledge what others have done for your project. They are doing what you can’t do. You rely upon them to get the job done.
Don’t treat them like disposable commodities that you are entitled to exploit to your advantage. It doesn’t work (long-term) that way. Take a moment and sincerely and specifically thank people for the work they contribute.
2. Project Managers that Brag About Their People
Project management class is embodied in those who brag about the people that are on their project team. Let’s say one of the above-mentioned ‘resources’ went above and beyond. They may have visited a client’s site with you and delivered an exceptional presentation. They fielded questions that you weren’t even sure of the answers to, and they delivered the presentation eloquently. The first thing project management class would dictate, would be to tell them “thank you”.
The next thing you do is brag about them to their supervisor, manager, or whoever is above them in the corporate food chain. A simple email will suffice. Just a few lines about how much you appreciated the role they played in making the meeting a success. Offer a specific example of where they went above and beyond. That’s all there is to it! This is effective for a number of reasons:
- First, you know the person that gave the great presentation will hear about your feedback and be more prone to go above and beyond in the future.
- Second, their manager appreciates the fact that you appreciate someone on their team and will be more likely to work closer with you in the future.
- Third, it’s just good project management class to tell others when someone does a good job.
3. Project Managers that Keep Their Cool
A 3rd way to display project management class is to keep your cool when the going gets tough. We know things have a tendency to get a bit turbulent on projects. Technical issues may have surfaced or an aggressive delivery date that was committed to by the company is quickly looming and the project is not running according to schedule.
There are two choices to make:
1) run around like a crazy person with your head on fire and ignite the rest of the team, or…
2) gain control of yourself and calm the rest of the team.
I’ve seen it too many times when the person at the top overreacts about a situation and everyone on their team follows suit. What ensues is a lot of unnecessary chaos and drama that could have easily been avoided.
Choose #2 . Gain control of yourself and calm the rest of the team. Take a moment and back away from the crisis when something goes wrong.
Having project management class will allow you to assess the situation, formulate a plan, communicate it to the team and begin working through the issue. Yes, it’s harder than it sounds. But, I’ve also seen it accomplished effectively, innumerable times. I’ve also seen the train wreck that occurs when #1 is chosen above. Choose wisely.
4. Project Managers that Take the Blame
Part of having project management class during a crisis situation is to take the blame. Now, we’re not talking about taking the blame for somebody else’s mistakes.
For example, it may have been that the functional manager of the testing team was not properly staffed to get the job done and things have fallen behind. But, we are talking about taking the blame for those who are directly on your project team and have been following your direction. There will never be any class in throwing a teammate under the bus.
A better response would be…”Yes, that was a miss on our part. We’ll go back and see what can be done to get things back on track immediately”. Follow up with a face-to-face conversations about what could have been done differently. But at no time should the finger be pointed at those under your direct project management authority.
5. Project Managers that Share the Credit
“Great job!” the executives proclaim to you as you are wrapping up your post project review. “Thanks, I worked really hard to make this project a success”.
Really? Did you just say that? You know that you are just part of the equation that got the job done. Even if you are a big part of the equation of making the project a success, you are going to share that credit with the rest of the team. It’s the opposite of taking the blame.
Despite the fact that you may have been the linchpin that kept the whole project together, projects are a team effort and you need to share the credit. Allow your teammates to bask in the warm glow of a job well done and feel good about what they have accomplished.
I’m sure you can think of many more ways to display project management class. Start with the 5 suggestions above and you’ll start seeing a difference in the way peers, executives and clients view your project management skills.
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