Busily 'clipping' articles I found interesting, an article on managing contacts from last year caused a pause. As project leaders, especially in this environment, it can be easy to fall back on a communications plan. But is that a really human way to manage expectations and relationships? What is your favourite way to keep the 'relations' in 'relationship management' lively, connective and useful?
The broad scale of loss is becoming painfully evident. Loss of those who have succumbed to the C-19, loss of a sense of safety, loss of workplace and team identity, and loss of an understanding how our world works.
As team leader, you can help. Here are a few key points:
No one deals with grieving in exactly the same way. Our personal frame of reference can get in our way, if we let it. Each of us recovers our new level of equilibrium in different rhythms. That rhythm might include circling back. That’s okay. That’s human.
‘Let’s help!’ Perhaps, yet perhaps not now. Loss is intensively personal. Who and what we grieve for can’t always be understood by others. A suggestion: Let them know you are there, ask them about specific tasks that are due and whether or not they would prefer to set up a temporary task share. Acknowledge their grieving, let them guide the pace and topic of any further chats.
Your team’s culture can support the members if that culture continues to be carefully tended – perhaps even deepened. What suggestions will you share about how you can lead the way?
Have you ever accidentally gotten in your own way? Every project manager, every project leader balances the wants and needs of their clients. Sometimes, though, we forget that what we’re making, all respect to the pride of professionalism in our team members, doesn’t actually belong to us! So a shout out to my wonderful colleagues – how do you keep your team’s focus on what the customer needs?
What the blazes will it take before people are confident enough to achieve an environment of diverse opinions, levels of experience, types of education, and background?!? Is it fear? Is it insecurity? Or have we simply not made the case strongly enough?
The vast interdependencies of any organization’s projects mean that no single person will likely be able to know or manage every possible impact of a project. Why WOULDN’T you reach for the smartest, the widest breadth of experience possible? What will you do to help open minds, break down biases?
I have a love/hate relationship with time management. You know, you love what good time management delivers. You hate the feeling that you’re focusing on time management so much that you wonder how much time you’re spending on it!
When I (accidentally) started in project management, one of my first mentors gave me a tip that is still useful.
Bob is a big man with a slight southern drawl, loads of experience and a low-key manner. He also had a strong commitment to helping his protégés avoid scar tissue. Unfortunately, scar tissue was most of your education when nobody called you a project manager, but that’s what you were. One day he pulled me aside.
“You’re working way too hard and way too long each day,” he observed.
What!? Wasn’t that what I was supposed to do? Work hard, put in the hours, and wasn’t that why my teams were delivering great results?!
“You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. If your teams help you manage your time better, you’re going to hit the end of the week being less tired mentally, less cranky, and less like you’re looking forward to sleeping your whole weekend away. It means you’re really ready for the upcoming week and all the work that needs to get done in that week.
Ask your folks to put three numbers at the start of their emails.
411 means they need information – timely response, please, but not urgent
611 means they have a problem – please respond at your first opportunity
911 means they REALLY have a problem – please respond, MAKE the opportunity to.”
Having said his piece, Bob strolled back to his office.
This simple tool gave me a better handle on how to use best my time in responding.
Although people know about those codes, it’s nice to see how they can use them. A micro-creative perspective that’s been very productive.
What is your go-to time management tool or suggestion, Judy Balaban, Andy Kaufman, Mark Watson, Jane von Kirchbach, George Wang, Lisa Blake, Greg Hall, Cate Brady, Andrew Neuman? Who would like to share?