Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Directing the team, part of Project Management Foundations: Teams.
There are very many positions that a project manager fills. Along with being the project control process expert, being expected to know the most about your project's product, understanding the customer's business and objectives and supplying your manager with information to convey to a steering committee, you are also expected to direct a project team. It's quite a load. If you establish things correctly with your team, you can significantly relieve the team leader burden that is part of your to do list.
As the project manager, you have significant influence over the relationships, the tone and the pace of the project team. As a team leader, the best way to positively influence your team is to think of the things that cause team failure and focus on avoiding these team effectiveness traps. The leading causes of team failure are an absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment and inattention to results.
I want to share with you a few recommendations that can help you avoid these common pitfalls. An absence of trust between team members usually has two sources. Either a negative event from the past or a misunderstanding or differing views about the current project approach. This situation makes me think of Abraham Lincoln who once said, "I don't like that man. I must get to know him better." The 16th U.S. president gives us very relevant advice.
Trust issues will remain unless rich discussions take place. Become a catalyst for discussions about strengths and weaknesses and how your team members can help each other. Helping your team get to know each other and the client is the most effective way to develop trust. The fear of conflict can also cripple your team. As part of team norms, agree on an approach for conducting debates. Not only does it provide an approach for how the sometimes tense discussions can be conducted, but having a standard process agreed in advance can help you convince your team that conflict can be okay.
The simple truth is that many people don't enjoy conflict, but it is important to acknowledge that conflict is often required to work through an issue. Some constructive conflict is likely with most projects. A lack of commitment can also cripple project teams. This comes from three major sources. The team members do not understand their role in the project. They don't understand the project's value to the organization or they believe the project goals and objectives are impractical or not achievable.
Talk with your team and understand their perspectives. Take their issues and concerns seriously. Ensure that roles are clear and can be traced to the project's outcomes and try to break down the outcomes and expectations into bite-size pieces to help people find a believable path to produce those outcomes. Lastly, some teams suffer from inattention to results. With well thought out project schedules and defined tasks, you can help your project team move forward in a step by step manner to produce the value that is expected of the project team.
When a project represents a mission that matters and you as the project manager pay appropriate attention to the project team and address issues directly, these project team traps can be avoided and you can work through problems together on your way to project success.
Along the way, discover how to negotiate for key resources, appreciate and maximize individual working styles, use emotional intelligence to add a personal approach to your management style, and resolve conflict.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
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- Understanding the four key work styles
- Negotiating for your team
- Sharing a common objective
- Making team rules
- Directing the team
- Solving team conflicts<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.