The project team you lead should make your life easier for you. This is a simple enough statement but it is easy to forget it when you are in the middle of a tough project and it feels like they are doing anything but helping you out.
If you want to get them working more efficiently and genuinely helping you then here are some ways of doing it which you might be interested in.
Give Them Authority and Responsibility
Just about everyone works better when they have authority to make decisions and when they know that they also have the responsibility of doing an important job. If you just feed them the scraps that you don’t want then you can’t expect them to do a great job or to feel proud of what they are doing. On the other hand, by making them feel like an important member of the team you will increase the probability of them doing a great job for you. The key is in knowing how much authority and responsibility to give to each person and this is when it pays to know your team members and their capabilities and limits. By talking to them on a regular basis and carrying out checks on how they are doing you will begin to get a feel for how they are getting on and what sort of responsibilities you can safely pass onto them.
Lead by Example
Your team is going to work a lot better if you show them how you want them to proceed. This means being the example for them and leading the project to a successful conclusion. You should show them the ethical, honest way you like to work and encourage them to use the same values in their approach. The example you set for your team members is more important than you might think and it is something you should take some time to think about if you have never done this before. This includes how you behave in team meetings, how you treat stakeholders and everything else you do. Don’t forget that even when you don’t think anyone is paying much attention to what you do and say they are still taking their lead from you. This is an important part of the project leader job and it is one you should make sure that you take care over.
Show Them the Objectives
Another way in which we all tend to work more efficiently is when we know what the overall objectives are. There might seem like there is no pressing reason to give your team members the full details of what needs to be done but you will be making a good move if you do so. Give them the information you have on what the project is all about and what you hope it achieves and you can expect them to be prouder of the part they are playing in it.
Keep Paperwork to a Minimum
I hate paperwork. I know that it is a necessary evil in the project world but it is a good idea to keep it to a bare minimum. Part of this point ties in with the other one about giving your team members more authority and responsibility. If you do this then there won’t be any need for them to refer every single issue or advance to you. By giving them a reasonable amount of freedom you will ensure that you don’t need to slow down the progress of the piece of work with unnecessary requests for authorisation or anything else which doesn’t really need your opinion in order for it to proceed smoothly.
Outsource What You Can
You can take some of the burden of simple or repetitive tasks off your team by outsourcing some of this work. This will allow them to concentrate on the more important aspects of the job and should therefore perform the role more efficiently. It is now easy to get some virtual project workers signed up on the internet and let them loose on your piece of work. This will obviously make managing the project more difficult for you but it should be worth it in the long run. In fact, you could give one or two of your team member the responsibility for overseeing the virtual workers to free up some of your time and to give them something a bit more interesting to do as well.