Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Four key work styles, part of Project Management Foundations: Teams.
We all have our own particular tendencies. For example, when I go on vacation, I like to go camping in the middle of nowhere, while you might prefer a 5-star hotel in New York City. In a similar way, most of us also have favorite tendencies or styles when we work. Your project team members will believe they are delivering the best value when they can apply their preferred style. Do you understand the habits or tendencies of your team members? I want to help by sharing with you the 4 most common work styles.
They are action, social, planner, and analyst. As we talk about each of these styles, I want you to be thinking about which of your team members fit each style. The action work style is also described as the doer. People with an action tendency strive to produce products or deliverables as their primary focus. You may hear these people say, "I just want to get this done." Typically, the deliverables your action-focused team members strive to produce are parts of the ultimate product of your project.
Your action-focused team member needs to understand how their actions contribute to the outcomes for your project. Action-oriented team members typically keep you focused on project goals. Next, you have your social work style team members. These people are focused on ensuring everyone on the team is informed and working together effectively. You'll typically hear your social work style team members using the word "we" as if the team is in the room with them, even if they're talking with you one on one.
These team members will ensure anything that is relevant to the project team is known and shared quickly and clearly. Your social team members enjoy pulling together the team for in-work and after-work events. Social-minded team members can help you ensure your team is working in harmony. The planner on your team typically enjoys determining how things are going to get done. They're usually the project schedulers.
They will consistently talk about the steps you're going to take, the time frames to take those steps, and the team members who need to be involved. Planners like to have a known path to project outcomes, and help your project teams stay on that path. They like to understand where you are in the project journey. Are you under or over budget? Are you ahead or behind schedule? Your planner-minded team members can help keep you honest by tracking the progress of your project against your plan.
Your analysis-minded team member looks for alternatives, focusing on finding answers to problems that surface on the project. Producing multiple options, and examining pros and cons for each option are strengths of the analyst. For example, it's common to hear them ask questions like "How else could we do this?" "Is there a quicker approach?" "Couldn't we make this easier?" Their focus is ensuring that things are done the right way, and that options have been appropriately considered.
They can help you avoid leaping before looking, ensuring alternatives for project approaches are fully considered. Understanding each of these team member preferences can help you get the most of your project team. However, these tendencies should not be confused with capabilities. You will find many team members are fully capable, and often quite skilled at displaying the characteristics I've shared in each of these styles. In addition, many people on your team will have a primary and a secondary style they're very comfortable with.
So what does all this mean? It means understanding your team members is a vital part of managing your project team. I want to share with you the general traits that will help you spot the preferred styles of your team members along with helping you assign the appropriate roles and project tasks to leverage those preferred styles. As you think about your team members work styles, it would be useful for you to focus on your personal style, and how that will complement or support the members of your project team.
You should also be mindful of how your work style could cause some difficulties or concerns for some of your team members.
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.