One of the most important aspects of being a project manager is to effectively manage your project team. Without your direction their responsibilities and goals will not be clear and could lead to an unsuccessful project. While following a project management standard such as PRINCE2 is critical for the smooth running of a project, the ability to work with your team should also be considered.
Working with your team
When it comes to working with your team, one of the most important things is to ensure that the people on the team feel that their participation is valued and worthwhile. To do this, it is vital that you talk to your team about any issues which are faced by your department.
Asking their opinion on issues which affect the whole team will give them confidence, both in their importance to the team and in their importance to you. Their solutions will also offer up innovations for the running of the department. Remember – it is not your job as manager to come up with all the ideas. Rather, it is up to you to use the ideas which others give, making sure there are enough of them to keep everything running.
Involving individuals on the team by asking their opinion is also an excellent method of team motivation. If the team sees their contributions being acted upon during a project, they will be a great deal more interested in the project’s successful completion.
Engaging your team’s creativity will help you create better bonds with your team members as well as giving them better job satisfaction and the desire to put more energy and even more creativity into projects.
Your team’s development
You are responsible for the development of every member of your team. One of the main things you can give your team members is education in the fields that they need to develop.
Team development is another way of getting involved with the individuals on your team. There should be a great deal of enthusiasm at the possibility of development; this is one of the main things the team can get from projects. Consequently, you should take steps to talk potential development through with your team members.
Explain to your team members that you are interested in their individual development, and will help them gain additional experience. Ask them which skills they are particularly interested in developing, and explain to them which skills you need them to develop for each project.
When it comes to appraisals, remember that the point is not to ‘tell off’ members of the team for not reaching their goals. Instead, look upon them as an opportunity to give constructive, motivational feedback to your team and to work with them to create a plan for the future.
Setting up goals
You need to ensure that your team has an overall objective and set goals, in order to guarantee that the team’s creativity leads in a positive direction. Setting out your goals needs to be SMART:
- Specific – your goals need to be clearly marked out to ensure that they cannot be misinterpreted.
- Measurable – set goals which you can measure, so that everyone can know when they have met them.
- Achievable – if your goals are too difficult they will be ignored or create too much stress within the team.
- Realistic – your goals have to contribute to your overall objective.
- Timed – a deadline is necessary to give meaning to each goal.
Being a Manager
It is essential that your team can understand your processes as a manager. If they seem unfair or nonsensical, you will not be taken seriously by your team and you will no longer be seen as a guider but as possibly as a hinderer to their work.
Make sure that all your practises seem fair to those on your team. Most importantly, make sure they seem efficient and effective, so that the team does not see their time as being wasted and can also value your work in assisting theirs.
If you put in the work to ensure your team’s training is ongoing, and that they are getting everything they want out of the company, you will find that your team will give a great deal more work, energy and creativity back. Ensure that there are goals and deadlines, and this energy will take your team far.
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