Being a leader is challenging and time consuming. Governors, principals, presidents, project managers: they all know it. One missing detail and all the plans you have made are jeopardized. Sometimes, all the stress and numerous sleepless nights make you reflect upon the avoidable mistakes that could make your life easier.
Analyzing your weak points is a smart thing to do, regardless of your expertise level. There is always something new to learn, even as an experienced project manager. Start by making a list of areas you want to improve in. Once you are ready, compare it to our list.
1. Miscalculating Future Expectations
Sometimes, project managers miscalculate their team’s final outcome. Establish that, and then ask yourself the following questions: Is the planned project fit for everybody’s values on the team? If not, whom should I switch and how?
The group has to be a collection of individuals with diversified views. This way, the ideas within the team stay authentic and innovative. Your chances of success are higher applying this technique. After finishing with this step, project your results with the correct team as accurate as possible. You have to evaluate all your plan’s details carefully. Do not have higher expectations than reality shows you, otherwise you will remain disappointed at the end.
2. Working Too Intensively
While working hard towards your goal is what every project manager should do, relaxing is also an essential key to keeping your team productive. Take your partners swimming or throw a small party! Make them feel part of the team they are in. It makes them feel connected and confident, so you will have a better and more efficient communicative body of workers.
Your team has to feel empowered to come to work! Make that easier for you and them. Keep everything organized, but relaxed!
3. Having Less Goals Than You Should
You should always be preoccupied with having numerous burdens to sustain and goals to reach. Maybe one day you find your team working on something completely off topic. They have just exhausted all the project subjects and fulfilled all the existing requirements. This is the moment you have to realize that you are doing something wrong.
Inside of your team, there should exist an effective and precise target that everyone is aware of. Working on it should not be easy. If it is, then you are not getting 100% potential from each of your employees. Keeps communication within the team organized and productive and always have a specified, challenging target to reach.
4. Modifying Your View
Project management is demanding even for the most organized people. There are times when you cannot keep everything in control. Sometimes your view over a certain topic changes or some small details lead to a large modification in your plans.
This is harming your partner’s trust in your leadership skills. Suddenly, they won’t listen to your commands anymore and start to take the lead. That means you are not doing an efficient job. You should not let that happen. You are the project manager, so you should manage all the plans in the respective project. Do it wisely: stay organized and always come up with new ideas.
5. Not Being Precise Enough
My mother has been assigning me tasks since I was a little kid. One day, she asked me to take my little sister into the park. Back then, we did not have any cell phones, so a walk into the Central Park and back was exactly what I wished for.
We have spent more than 4 hours there and when we came back, my mother was angry and exasperated. She has been searching for us for hours. I was startled to see her reaction. I thought she wanted me to take my sister in the Central Park. Actually, she wished I only took her to the small one near our house. I was amazed by how much panic miscommunication can create.
Therefore, learn from my life lesson: always be precise. Each task should have a due date, an outline, and specified points to be checked by your team. Do not be vague in your directions, as they will not fulfill tasks properly. Then they will have to start over, so stop losing vital time by avoiding this mistake.
6. Being Too Optimistic
Everybody wishes for an optimistic coordinator. While being positive encourages your teammates and boosts their energy, there might be times when this excessive positivity creates damage.
With deadlines being almost there and your associates failing to complete more than half of their work, panic will arise. Be realistic when it comes to project deadlines and possible barriers they might deal with.
For instance, if your project has to be completed within a month, check every week on their progress and help them with everything they need. But do not state that their work will be done in the next two weeks if that is not true. Allow them enough time to finish everything they have to do. Stay positive, but also realistic. Encourage them, but be practical.
7. Being Inflexible
Focusing on completing your tasks on time, you can forget to stay flexible. Thus, you might demand people to come earlier to work or leave later, but when they ask for a favor, your answer is no. Everything is less important than your project and they should get that, since they are working with you.
Unfortunately, being inflexible and not allowing people to breathe can create real consequences. Their confidence in your leadership skills will decline and you might even lose some valuable partners. Somebody asks for a free day, give it to him. And do not feel sorry for that. Since you chose him to be part of your team, you know that he will make up for that day. That should remind you of respecting point one on this article.
8. Not Having a Scale of Defining Success
In order to keep your team encouraged, you need to let them define success. At the beginning of your project, ask them what success means and what the best ways to accomplish it are. Then, make a list of their responses, and hang it to your conference room’s door.
Every time they walk by, they see their own sayings. This way, you keep them determined to work hard and passionately. You might hear answers like “Success is the accomplishment of your goals” or “Success is happiness.” Reading those quotes every day, your partners will feel empowered to finish their tasks and achieve success.
9. Running the Wrong Projects
We have discussed ways to choose your team and keep all the partners confident and ambitious. Next step is preparing your future commitment and understanding how each goal connects with the company’s final target. There are times when project managers run activities that do not have a major impact on the company’s status. They use the firm’s resources, time and money to build something with a small effect on the corporation’s budget.
Make sure you analyze all of your ideas before passing them forward. Write them down and choose the ones that will bring the company benefits on the long term. Use graphs and charts to find your firm’s financial situation and always think about improving it. That way, even though you have also accomplished other goals of yours, the senior management department will be pleased. The financial benefits you brought are valuable, so they won’t question your position in the company.
10. Lack of Training
If you need to improve yourself before running a project, do not take it or ask for assistance. Spending multiple days figuring it out on your own can take precious time that can be spent somewhere else within the company.
Stay true to your skills and abilities to accomplish tasks. If there is an opportunity to run a project in the Department of Energy, but you are only familiar with the IT Department, give another person the chance to take the job. Meanwhile, expand your IT skills, so that you will be chosen as the next IT project manager when the right time comes.
Project management is an art that many excel in, if properly trained. Learning how to avoid essential mistakes is the first step into becoming an outstanding leader within your company. Always take initiative if you are interested in one department, and do not forget to stay positive and fair with your team when running a project.