The project manager needs to love and respect people
MAIN MESSAGE: Nobody can ever expect anyone else to enjoy your projects if you don’t enjoy your own projects. When you do not treat yourself the way you want others to treat you, you can never change the way things are.
Your actions are your powerful thoughts, so if you do not treat yourself with love and respect as a Project manager, you are getting across a signal to your project stakeholders that are saying you are not important enough, worthy enough, or deserving. That message will continue to be broadcast, and you will experience more situations of customers, team members, and other project stakeholders not treating you well. The people are just the effect. Your thoughts and behaviors are the cause. Then, you must begin to treat yourself with love and respect and transmit that signal and get on that frequency. That way you will get more people who love and respect you as a project professional. I want you, I need you and I love you; they are a set of words that project managers should use with their executives and team members when manage projects. Most people want to be needed, required and loved by others. You, as a project manager, must not forget that your work with human beings.
I remember one project I managed in Spain for a software development organization. I had twenty five people in my team. At the beginning of the project we finished our work days very late. I was not leading by example. I did not respect myself, and I did not respect my people; that behavior stressed my team members. After five weeks of hard work, my team got frustrated and the team performance decreased dramatically. I looked for a solution, and I decided to finish the work every day at 6:00pm. My customer expected us spending long days working for the project. I talked to him and explained two key things: first that we were working very long journeys without making good progress, and second for achieving project success it is important to have people committed and motivated . My customer did not agree with my arguments at the beginning; he thought I was lying. So I needed to spend some time with him, talking about the negative business impact that would have the project failure, because of lack of team member’s commitment. Finally my customer agreed about that, and the team performance started to improve dramatically.
Some project managers have sacrificed themselves for their team members, thinking when they sacrifice themselves they are being a good professional, in the benefit of the project. That is wrong. To sacrifice you can only come from thoughts of absolute lack, because it is saying, “There is not enough for everyone, so I will go without”. Those feelings do not feel good and will eventually lead to resentment. Let me give you an example, working for a multinational company I knew a project management colleague from the UK that told me a real example about mentoring junior project managers. He said that when he acted as a mentor for junior project managers he had the tendency of doing his/her job (fishing for them instead teaching them to fish), just because he thought it was too difficult for them as none experienced project managers. I mean, he did sometimes the work supposed to be done by the junior project manager because he saw a lack of knowledge from them. After some time, he was conscious about his big mistake, allowed people to fail, and they learned from their failures. That way new project managers felt good, because it was their responsibility to achieve their own project goals.
There is abundance for everybody and it is each person’s responsibility to summon their own desires and goals. You cannot summon for another person because you cannot think and feel for another. Your job is you. When you make feeling good a priority, that good feeling will radiate and touch everyone close to you (for instance your team members).
You become the solution for you, do not point to another person and say, “Now you owe me and you need to give me more”. Instead, give me more to yourself. Take time off to give to yourself and in a sense to fill yourself up to fullness, to where now you can overflow in giving. Many of us were taught to put ourselves last, and as a consequence we attracted feelings of being unworthy and undeserving. Unless you fill yourself up first, you have nothing to give anybody. Therefore it is imperative that you tend to you first. Attend to your happiness first. People are responsible for their own happiness. When you tend to your happiness and do what makes you feel good, you are a happiness to be around and you are a shining example to every team member and other project stakeholders.
When you are feeling happiness you don’t even have to think about giving. It is a natural overflow. For example, I don’t feel good if I don’t do some physical exercise every day, I feel nervous and stressed. That stress is got across into my people. So, everyday I do some exercise to feel more happy and relaxed. You need to love you more. The reason you have to love you is because it is impossible to feel good if you don’t love you. When you feel bad about yourself, you are blocking all the love and good feelings and then it affects to your team members and to your project results.
When you feel bad about yourself it feels as though you are sucking the life out of you, and that will affect your team. The feeling of passion, enthusiasm, energy, and that amazing feeling of health and wellness, makes you feeling good. When you don’t feel good about you, you will be attracting more people, situations, and circumstances that will continue to make you feel bad about you. You must change your focus and begin to think about all the things that are wonderful about you. Please be focused on your strenghts. Look for the positives in you. As you focus on those things, life will show you more great things about you. You will be what you think about. All you have to do is begin with one extended thought of something good about you, and that will respond by giving you more like thoughts. Look for the good things about you. Everybody has some good skills, seek and you will find it.
I have been studying me for thirty years. I want to kiss myself sometimes. I am not talking about conceit. I am talking about a healthy respect for you as a professional. And as you love yourself, you will automatically love others. Why? Because you will feel good.And you know, your team members need to be loved and respected too.
I know many project managers that are always complaining about their team members, their customers. For instance, “My team members are so lazy, my customer is not committed, my Sponsor is not supporting me”. They are always focusing on the other person. But for relationships to really work, we need to focus on what we appreciate about the other person, not what we are complaining about. When we are complaining about those things we are only getting more of those things. Even if you are having a hard time in a customer, executive, or team member relationship – things are not working, you are not getting alone, someone’s in your face – you still can turn that relationship around.
Take a piece of paper, and for the next thirty days sit down and write all the things that you appreciate about that person. Think about all the reasons that you love them. You appreciate their sense of humor; you appreciate how supportive they are. And what you will find is that when you focus on appreciating and acknowledging their strengths, that’s what you will get more of, and the problems will fade away.
You only feel love in your heart. It is a state of being. You can see evidence of love being expressed through people, but love is a feeling, and you are the only one that can radiate and emit that feeling of love. Your ability to generate feelings of love is unlimited, and when you love you are in complete and utter harmony with your people. Love everything you can. Love everyone you can. Focus only on things you love, feel love, and you will experience that love and happiness coming back to you.
Remind the following thoughts:
- When you want to attract a relationship with your customer, team members or executives, make sure your thoughts, words, and actions do not contradict your desires
- Your job is you. You will not have nothing to give anybody unless you fill yourself first
- Treat yourself with love and respect, and you will attract people who show you love and respect as a project manager
- When you feel bad about yourself, you block the love and instead you attract more people and situations that will continue to make you feel bad about you
- Focus on the qualities you love about yourself
- To make a relationship work, focus on what you appreciate about the other person, and not your complaints. When you focus on the strenghts, you will get more of them
Alfonso Bucero, MSc, CPS, PMP, PMI-RMP, PfMP, PMI Fellow
BUCERO PM Consulting