Having a great project team behind you is one of the most important parts of any project and if you can achieve it then you will be well on the way to a successful conclusion. On the other hand, if your team isn’t as productive as it should be then it doesn’t really matter how good a job you do, as you can’t be expected to complete the work successfully on your own.
If you aren’t used to leading a team then this might be a tricky part of the role for you, so let’s take a look at it.
Get the Buy In
If everyone in the team sees it as being your project which they are just working on then they are far less likely to be motivated and to contribute positively to the work. Right from the start of the project you should work very hard to make them feel as though they are all vital parts of the work. This shouldn’t be too hard to do, as it is true. All of the team members have to pull their weight in order for the whole thing to have any chance of being a success. If you can get that across to them then you are well on the way to having the sort of productive team which every project manager needs to have. You can invite them to the stakeholder meetings, keep them updated and generally ensure that they know that you are getting the whole team involved in the work.
Value Their Opinions
Of course, it isn’t just about having team members sitting in on meetings without contributing anything. You also need to get them all involved in the decisions you make, and that means seeking out their opinions and valuing them. As well as getting more out of the project team you will also ease some of the burden on your shoulders this way. The team meeting is a great place to ask people for their opinions and give them feedback on what they have suggested. I particularly like brainstorming sessions as they let everyone throw in their ideas without any pressure at all. I get someone to write all of the ideas on post it notes and stick them on the wall. No one can reject any of the ideas until they are all up there to be discussed by the group. It is a process which can generate a lot of great ideas and can get everyone fully involved in the creative process no matter how inexperienced or timid they might be.
Make the Processes Transparent
If there is one thing which most people hate at work it is when their bosses try to make the processes as obscure and secretive as possible. You might actually fall into this trap without meaning to, as it can be easy to get caught up in what you are doing and forget that there are other people who would like to know what is happening too. Of course, you don’t want to go too far the other way and bore everyone as well as take up much of their time with in depth explanations of every single thing you do. It is simply a question of working out what level of depth you need to go to and then running with it.
Find the Best Working Environment
There are many different theories about the best type of working environment and you might need to change things around until you find the perfect one for your team. Personally I like an open plan office which has some break out areas and private rooms around it. It might not seem like a huge deal but if your team are physically cut off from you and from each other then it can be a lot more difficult to get worthwhile collaborative work going on.
Work Out Their Strengths
We all work better in specific things and the quicker you work out what your people are good at the better. As the project leader you will also want to help them improve and learn new things. However, there are sure to be times when the pressure is on and you simply need someone whom you can rely upon to get something right first time and without any delays. Getting to know the people in your project team is a big issue and if you don’t pay enough attention to it then you could find that it leads to all sorts of problems in the future.
Stay up to date with the latest Project Management tips and information.