Learn how to deliver projects on time, and keep promises. It starts with being organised, and calm under pressure.
- The second duty of a good team member is to be reliable, to do what you've promised. So this means being on time yourself to meetings and appointments and also delivering work on time. And that's going to require being organized. In a classic team situations like a baseball or a football match, the action happens over a period of just an hour or two with nothing else going on at the same time. So it's relatively easy to remember what you're supposed to do and to make sure that you get your contribution right but work teams have to keep track of lots of overlapping jobs and maybe you're in a number of different teams all at the same time.
So being organized is vital if you're not going to let down any of your teams. So you must get your time management systems right, which means writing everything down, keeping lists, always replying promptly to all messages and keeping all appointments in a diary that you look at every day. Another aspect of reliability is emotional stability. The ideal team member would always be the same, not have different moods or even personalities depending on the situation or perhaps from one day to the next.
I've had bosses where you don't know which one of their personalities you were going to get as you walked into work. And you don't want someone like that on your team. The ideal team player would always be the same and always remain calm under pressure. By the way, if you're thinking "Well, I do vary, "but I just can't help it", or "I do get a bit aggressive "when I'm under pressure, it's just how I am," then these are life scripts which you've developed over your life so far. They are self-fulfilling beliefs that you have about yourself.
And each time you what they tell you, they get a little bit stronger because you now have even more proof that you are aggressive under pressure or whatever it is. But they don't have to be true. Starting right now you could say to yourself "I always remain calm under pressure", or "I am the same helpful person every day, "whatever else is going on around me", and then quite quickly your new improved life script will take over. Now, delivering reliably can sometimes be inconvenient.
Maybe the task has turned out to be harder then you thought. Well, maybe other things have come in as well so it's hard to find the time. At what point should you let the team down? How much should you put yourself out for the good of the team? How much time, effort or risk should you give up in order to help the others in the team? Well, logic would say that if the team only benefits a little bit and at very large cost to you then you shouldn't do it, where as if it's only a small cost to you and it benefits the team a lot then you should do it.
And certainly the second one is true. You'd be very selfish not to put yourself out a little bit if the team was to benefit substantially from your time or effort. But going back to that first case, a bit more difficult, where you have to put in a big effort in order for the team to only benefit a small amount, should you have to do this? It seems to me that the team would be a bit unreasonable to ask this of you, and you'd be within your rights to at least question it. Say something like, "Guys, do you realize how hard "this is going to be for me to do?'' Maybe they didn't realize the cost to you, or maybe the benefit to them is bigger than you realize.
But if neither is the case and the team is just being selfish and don't really care about the cost to you, then maybe this isn't a team you want to be in. But if it's marginal or the cost to you is only a little bit larger than the gain to the team you should definitely do the work to show commitment, even though it may feel a bit unfair at the time. And no doubt you'll reap some kind of reward for your efforts in the end. So summing up this section, I'd like you to ask yourself three questions. Number one, how organized are you? Should you write more down, for example? Number two, are you always the same or do you vary? Is this something that you could work on? And number three, do you ever put yourself out for the good of the team? Could you do that more?
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- Getting the job done
- Dividing up the work
- Cultivating communication
- Handling conflict
- Delivering reliably
- Playing more than one role
- Using your strengths and dealing with your weaknesses