We often talk about the behaviours required for a successful project manager, which can require a complete re-think of ways we have been doing things for years. It is not easy to change some habits or methods. But there are also ways you behave that are much easier to change and these are often things that team members find irritating and annoying. It can be all too easy to irritate team members without even realising you’re doing it.
So avoid these irritating behaviours and you will avoid becoming unpopular in the workplace, which can only benefit you in your role as project manager.
Delegating The Tasks You Don’t Want To Do
If you always delegate the tedious, boring tasks to team members and only do interesting tasks yourself then you will not motivate the team to complete those tasks, or, indeed, any tasks – so share the load. Not everything about project management is exciting (what? no-one told you that when you took on the role). Don’t let resentment build up between you and your team – being a team means everyone shares the good moments and the bad. Remember delegation is not just about getting rid of the tasks you don’t want to do yourself.
Do you never fully explain the objectives of a project to your team – do you think they don’t really need to know? Do you not divulge important changes to the project thinking it won’t affect tasks that individuals are working on? If so, then team members will start to feel under-valued so, instead, involve them more fully in the project by just talking to them, even if a piece of information is not strictly relevant to certain individuals it is the not-knowing that can be de-motivating. Of course, don’t overdo it either – an overload of information can be distracting. Knowing what to communicate, and when, is an essential project management skill.
You may have been in the office since 6.00am but if your team arrive at 9.00am they won’t want to see you leave at 4.00pm. If there are specific reasons why you have to work non-regular hours then explain this to the team (effective communication again) but don’t think that avoiding traffic is a reason that will cut it. And if your team are working at full capacity and putting in extra hours then you need to do the same, obvious really.
Taking the Credit
If you always take the credit for the successful completion of tasks or meeting deadlines then that is sure to annoy people. Instead, make sure you recognise the contributions of others and highlight their role to senior managers. This will help to motivate the team which, in turn, will contribute to further successes.
But remember, none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes so don’t beat yourself up about it – just try and be more aware of any behaviours that could annoy your team and other people working with you. Behaving in a calm, measured way; apologising when necessary and treating everyone with respect will go a long way to earning you respect and will set the tone for behaviour amongst all of the team.
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Thanks Gordon for pointing me in the direction of the Johari Window article. Frightening to think any of us might be like David Brent – perhaps that would be the “Blind Area” of the Johari window – what others know about us that we don’t know ourselves.
On the positive side soliciting feedback in a team environment can minimise the “blind area” – or at least that’s the theory. In practise people don’t always believe others’ perceptions of themselves and don’t act to change their behaviours – just like DB.
“It can be all too easy to irritate team members without even realising you’re doing it.”: Reading this brought to my mind the ‘Johari Window’ – a great model illustrating the ‘hidden self’; whereby we may present an image of ourselves to others quite at odds with reality: rather like David Brent in ‘The Office’ on TV. As a Project Manager, the development in ability to increase congruence between the image we ‘think’ we are portraying, and that which we actually do, is of immense benefit. There are many components to this: from prosody: tone of voice, to body language, and even the basic skill of ‘listening’. All may communicate a more positive message about the Project Manager than a plethora of unwarranted assumptions, or ill-informed opinions, and importantly, may in turn both inform the project’s ‘sanity’, and win the support and committed engagement of the Team Members.