Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Project Manager - Take some time to reflect….

Learn to look at things differently
new project manager

A common problem for new project managers when they are first given responsibility for managing people is that they do not actually think about people management issues, simply because they do not initially recognise them as having a priority.

They typically focus upon the need to plan, organise and co-ordinate the allocation of tasks to their staff - and monitor that all work is being completed on a timely basis, with quality standards being met. However, quite often not as much thought is given to how to motivate and effectively handle their people. Software and hardware in many ways will be far more predictable than the behaviour, performance and moods of some people in the workplace

Conflicts, personality clashes, rivalries, un-cooperative behaviour, lack of information sharing, apathy, inattention to detail, failure to follow protocols, inconsistency, unwillingness to show initiative - these are just a few of the difficulties that can arise in a project team if people are not receiving the leadership that is needed.

Put simply, things can go wrong not because you are stupid, but more because you have never thought about it from the perspective of having leadership responsibility. Improving yourself as a team leader is about pausing to ask yourself the right questions, and then taking time to reflect upon things from the different perspective of your new role as a coach, mentor and guide.

    New project manager - leadership of people
  • People have high expectations of those in leadership roles
When some people first gain responsibility for managing others, they adopt a reactive approach of learning from their mistakes – but too often this can prove to be a slow and painful process. These new project managers tend to think that if any little "people" problems do arise, then it will just take a bit of common sense to deal with them.

Unfortunately it often takes them a long time to appreciate that, rightly or wrongly, staff have high expectations of those in leadership positions - and that success in people management requires a different set of skills than just technical capabilities.

Patience, tact, approachability, composure and enthusiasm are just some of the qualities that people look for in their leaders. Remember, when your staff have true respect for you as their project leader, then they will not want to let you down.

If you are new to project management and looking for a short course, visit Project Management course Melbourne

  • A proactive approach to improving your people management skills
By committing yourself to learning as much as you can about what it means to be in a leadership role, and by working at developing both your interpersonal skills as well as your judgement – you will end up preventing many of the problems that can otherwise arise.

You might pick up ideas and tips about leadership through reading management books, or participating in online forums with other new managers, or perhaps finding a mentor whom you respect, and building your own personal support network for support and guidance…….

Whatever you choose, the key is to keep on learning, thinking and reflecting…. And remember not to be too harsh on yourself – we all make mistakes. Just try not to make the same one twice.

By the way, a great resource site with plenty of people management articles is Management Skills Development