You may already be a good project manager. Heck, you might even be a great one! However, to truly be great at anything, you need to constantly be trying to improve and get ahead of the game. You may not even realize the areas where you are currently lacking and therefore cannot identify the best ways to improve.
3 ways to crush it as a project manager
Pick up the phone
Though I may be starting with something that seems basic, this tip tends to get overlooked in the modern workplace. An important part of any project manager’s job is to know when to not email and pick up the phone instead. It can become a habit to want to avoid the phone in this day and age of easy technology. Despite this fact, there are certain things that can be resolved so much faster over the phone rather than trying to resolve it through a string of thirteen emails. Tone and intention are conveyed much faster over the phone, enabling you to get things done.
Keep your emotions in check
Being a project manager can get tough. There are so many factors to keep track of and it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Keeping calm and collected should come as second nature for any project manager when dealing with stress and pressure. With your team looking to you, you need to be able to remain calm and hide signs of stress that you might be feeling. Don’t let yourself make the mistake of letting stress and pressure take over. Approach each challenge with a logical, methodical approach and itemize what you need to address by level of importance. Then take a deep breath and get to work. As William James said, “the greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
Technology isn’t always the answer
Another mistake a project manager can make is solely relying on project management software. Though project management software can be a great asset, it will not instantly solve all your problems. If the underlying process isn’t working, there is nothing the project management software can do except be a checklist for all your projects. You need to make sure you have a solid system in place when it comes to checking in on projects and advancing each project and milestone effectively. Once you have this in place, the project management software will come in handy.
Last, but not least… first things first
You may be able to master all three of the suggested improvements I mentioned previously, but if you can’t get your team behind you and the project, you’ll never be able to make major steps to improve. Projects tend to fail when they don’t get enough support from the people and teams involved with the project. If you don’t make the effort to get everyone on board, your project will fall apart before you begin. Make sure everyone involved is clear on their role and share with them the payoff everyone will get if the project is successful. Finally, remember to show some enthusiasm! Get your team fired up and excited about the project.
Project management is an ever-changing world and as a project manager, you are at the forefront. Therefore you should make it part of your career plan to continually seek out new ways to improve. If you don’t continue to learn, you will end up being surpassed by others who are willing to put in the time and effort before you know it.