The role of a Project Manager is not limited to making project plans, WBS (work breakdown structure), progress tracking, resource planning etc. He is also responsible for getting things done, and that means he has to spend a lot of quality time on people management too.
A project team might have very good resources, with high quality credentials and references, but still the performance of the team might be 50 percent of what it actually should be or is perceived to be. And this could be really a bad news for the project manager, since many of his estimates and commitments might be based on certain expected performance parameters of the team members.
So how do you get the most out of your team? Here are a few suggestions picked up from various resources:
Team dynamics is a very important factor that decides the cohesiveness of the team. These are the unseen forces that run between different people. Team dynamics strongly influences how a team reacts, behaves, and performs, and can manifest itself, either positively or negatively, with the overall result of the project.
The best way to understand team dynamics is to recognize its forces. These forces can originate from any of the following:
- Personality styles of the team members
- Team roles
- Office layout
- Available tools and technology (e.g., presence of bulletin boards, collaborative project management tools, etc.)
- Organizational culture
Build Confidence and Trust
To get the best performance out of your team, you need to build trust and confidence in your team. Building trust is also an important indicator of good leadership skills.
Avoid micro management, because it actually conveys the message, “I don’t completely trust you.” Trust can be instilled in your team members by some of the following ways:
- Expose yourself that demonstrates honesty and humility. Do not build a wall around yourself. Let your team feel that you are approachable.
- As the project manager, you should be willing to take the hit sometimes for the sake of your team. As a leader you must be ready to take the credit for the bad things too.
- You must make sure that you praise your team members in front of peers, for appropriate recognition. This act of yours will be a good morale booster.
- Whenever there is a difference of opinion you must see that you are able to promote discussions. You must accept confrontation in a healthy way.
- Identify and build upon the strengths of your team members for the good of the entire team.
Effective communication is very important and is also a sign of great leadership. Different modes and styles of communication may be effective with different kinds of people. Your job is to figure out the preferred way of communication with different team members so that it is effective. Some of the ways that you must adopt for making communication effective in your team are:
- Be crisp, clear and concise.
- Make the most important point at the beginning.
- Attitude is important. So look the other person in the eye and put away all the gadgets while speaking.
- Ask open-ended question and then draw the other person in by asking her to clarify her point, or elaborate further on the point.
- If you can’t say something nice, do not say anything.
- Always deliver bad news in person.
Rejig the 80/20 Matrix
This relates to training and development of the under-performers in your team. The 80/20 rule, which means that 80% of the work is done by the 20% of the people, is well-known and applies in almost all kinds of team activities.
It will be helpful if you can rejig the 80/20 matrix of your project team. You can do this by:
- Identifying a few team members other than the top 20% high performers
- Send them to training programs that are relevant to their specific areas of improvement
- The training programs should ideally be a certification program
Of course, if you plan to send some of your resources to training programs, then do not forget to accommodate the extra time required for training and development activities in the overall project schedule.
What do you say?