Due to the nature and complications of their job, project managers get a reputation of being really difficult and impossible to work with. Project managers in the contemporary world are tasked with successfully implementing projects and meeting the goals expected by the organization. During the course of their job, project managers have to lead and manage a team of individual performers and steer them in the right direction. Not only this, but they also have to ensure optimal coordination with stakeholders involved internally and externally.
The success of every project is determined by the team working behind it. Even the most excellent planned projects can fail to meet objectives if the team behind it does not perform to its full abilities. The project manager acts as a liaison and a collaborator during this process and brings together participants from the entire chain to form a coalition and work together. The effective development, collaboration and integration of the project team have a heavy influence on the overall success of the project.
In this article we look at some effective steps project managers can follow to build a relationship with their project management team. Start working on these steps and make sure you complete projects without alienating your team members.
1. Help Team Members Understand Responsibility
Project managers are often seen as control freaks who like managing team members at a micro-level. Besides just having to plan solidly for the project’s success, project managers also have to control and monitor the situation for effective results. It is a project manager’s job to ensure that project objectives are being met, and there is nothing that is missed out in the project briefs.
Regardless of whether it is the budgets, timing, schedules, resource management, quality or any other face of a project management job, project managers need to be responsible for steering the project forward. Project managers can meet these objectives through a great deal of focus and person management. In order to successfully manage operations and perform their duties, project managers have to keep a stringent check on all team members.
It is best for managers to set expectations and responsibilities right with all team members before the project commences. Help them understand the level of responsibility on your shoulders and make sure that they aren’t offended or surprised by your level of micro-management. In short, all responsibilities should be clarified at the beginning, and team members should know the reasons behind your extensive monitoring and micro-management style.
2. Spend Some Time to Know Team Members Better
Project managers are usually starved for time when they’re working on a project. Their schedules are packed with constant documentation and updates, meetings, issue resolution, planning and a plethora of other tasks related to project management. This can make project managers appear really disinterested and socially cut-off to the average team member. However, as a project manager, you need to set communication with team members as a priority and ensure that you’re effectively collaborating and communicating with them.
Cooperation and synergy between all team members can only be achieved if all members are on the same page and realize all that is on stake. Taking a few minutes from your day to talk with team members and discussing project details can help set the communication patterns straight.
3. Balance Relationship Management with Goal Attainment
Everything in the field of project management is centered on objectives and meeting intended goals. Hence, it isn’t surprising to see project managers prioritize goal attainment over everything else. This, however, does make project managers look more like constant taskmasters than actual leaders. It is necessary that project managers realize and remind themselves of the importance of relationship management within the project team. A significant part of project management is to make relationships with team members and focus on people. Even the goals are highly unlikely to be met if project managers are unable to form teams and communicate their needs to members.
Goal attainment and relationship management are different ends to the same coin. Both these sides eventually lead to the objective of successful project completion. Managers should set aside some time every day to sit down with team members and converse with them. While the conversations should primarily revolve around work, it is nice to have a small chit-chat on something else as well.
4. Understand Role of Communication in Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution can often be a tricky step to maneuver for project managers. The best technique here is to focus on the project goals, and resolve conflicts simultaneously. Do not allow a conflict to divert your attention from the ultimate goal you have in mind for the project. Even during times of conflict, your attitude and behavioral response will dictate that of your team. If you seem flustered with the conflict and prioritize it over everything else, your team will do that as well. Once resolved, make sure that you use your relationship management skills to make both parties accept the solution.
5. Recognition and Reward
A recognition and reward strategy is necessary to help reinforce the importance of key project deliverables and to also allow your team to focus on the important aspects of project management. Reward the kind of achievements and progress you think will help lead the team toward successful completion. Also, recognize team members for the efforts they put, and give them a pat on the back in front of everyone else. Metrics for rewards should be communicated at the start of the project to set all expectations right.
As a project manager, you need to realize the role you play, and how you cannot please every stakeholder at all times. However, communication and collaboration with team members can help make management easier and can lead the team to successful project completion.