Successful project management depends not only on what you do but also on how you do it. This means being proactive and looking at the big picture, encouraging others and treating them with respect, communicating effectively and acknowledging other people’s accomplishments.
These attitudes and behaviors affect how people respond to you. Some tips by the expert Stanley E. Portny (certified PMP) can help you to successfully win people’s support.
- Be a “Why” Person
Look for the reasons behind requests and actions. Understanding why helps you respond appropriately to team members, upper managers, and all other project audiences (which, in turn, increases people’s motivation and buy-in). First, look to understand the reasons behind other people’s requests and actions; then share your findings with other people.
- Be a “Can Do” Person
Look at all problems as challenges and do everything you can to find ways to overcome them. Be creative, flexible, and tenacious. Never lose your positive attitude and keep working at a problem until you solve it.
- Think about the Big Picture
Keep events in perspective. Understand where you want to go and how your plan will get you there. Recognize the effect your actions have on current and future efforts. Share your vision with others.
- Think in Detail
Be thorough. If you don’t think through your project’s issues, who will? The more clearly you describe your intended results, the more easily people can recognize the benefits associated with your project. And the more clearly you define your intended work, the more often people will ask important and insightful questions — and believe that they can perform the work successfully. Clarity leads to increased personal motivation and reduced chances of mistakes.
- Assume Cautiously
Take the time to find out the facts; use assumptions only as a last resort. With every assumption comes a risk that you’re wrong. The fewer assumptions you make, the more confidence you can have in your plan. This is the first step to deal with risks and uncertainty.
- View People as Allies, Not Adversaries
Focus on common goals, not individual agendas. Making people feel comfortable encourages brainstorming, creative thinking, and the willingness to try new ideas — all of which are essential to managing a successful project. But viewing and treating people as adversaries can put them on the defensive and encourage them to become enemies. Learn how to get people on your side.
- Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
Communicate clearly. Be specific by letting people know exactly what you mean. Tell them what you want them to know, what you want them to do, and what you’ll do for them. Don’t leave these details up to their imaginations. You may think that being vague gives you more leeway, but in reality, being vague just increases the chances for misunderstandings and mistakes.
- Respect Other People
Focus on people’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. In each person on your team, find a quality that you can respect. People work harder and enjoy their work more when they’re around others who appreciate them and their efforts.
- Acknowledge Good Performance
Take a moment to acknowledge good performance. When someone does something good, tell the person and his/her boss that you appreciate the effort and its results. Recognizing good performance confirms to a person the accuracy and value of his work. Your appreciation will motivate him to work with you and other team members on future projects. Be specific — tell the person exactly what he did or produced that you appreciate. Be sure to provide your feedback promptly; don’t wait weeks or months before recognizing someone for his hard work.
- Be a Manager and a Leader
Attend to people as well as to information, processes, and systems. Create and share your vision and excitement with your team members, but don’t forget to share a sense of order and efficiency, too. Encourage people to strive for outstanding results, and provide the guidance and support to help them achieve those results.
Adapted from Stanley E. Portny Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), author of PM for Dummies, Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey