The project manager needs to be enthusiastic
Every project manager can change from apathy to enthusiasm through motivation. Developing your enthusiasm is a path for project success. Early in my professional career I managed projects far away of my city of residence and some of them outside of my country. That fact was always a challenge for me, I was outside home but I needed to do it to live and maintain my family. Probably it may be one of the reasons because I needed to look for ways to motivate myself, seeing every project as an opportunity to learn but also an opportunity to make people happier. The important fact is that you as a project manager can deliberately make yourself enthusiastic.
Actually you can go further and develop a quality of enthusiasm so meaningful and in such depth that it will not decline or run dry no matter what strain it is put to. It has been established by repeated demonstration that a person can make of himself just about what he wants to, provided he wants to badly enough and correctly goes about doing it. In order to transform yourself into whatever type of person you wish to be is first to decide specifically what particular characteristic you desire to posess and then to hold that image firmly in your consciousness. Second, proceed to develop it by acting as if you actually possessed the desired characteristic. And third, believe and repeatedly affirm that you are in the process of self-creating the quality you have undertaken to develop. You need to make use of the “as if” principle, announced by William James (Psychologist). For example, let us suppose that you have some fear to speak on public and you are very worry because you need to speak on public as a project manager.
The procedure for change into a person who is able to speak on public without fear is to start visualizing yourself as you would like to be, a person confident and assured to speak on public. Rehearse your presentations again, again and again. Once the thought or image of what you desire to be is deeply embedded in your consciousness, then deliberately start acting in a confident manner when you speak on public.
Let me give you an example, when working for a multinational company as a project manager I wanted to improve my English skills to present my project experiences to an international community in English language. So I sold the idea to my manager explaining to him that my purpose was to present a paper in a project management congress in California. He did not understand my request at the beginning, but I argued with passion I wanted to go to California to share and learn best project management practices from my colleagues. I visualized myself presenting successfully many times, and I rehearsed my presentation more than one hundred times during three months. I was very passionate about that purpose and finally my presentation was great. I made many mistakes during my presentation, but at the end I got applause because the enthusiasm I transmitted to the audience.
Make yourself enthusiastic. Act with enthusiasm, start the day with enthusiasm and pretty soon you will have enthusiasm. I start every day telling myself “Today is a Good Day”. Another practice important to the development of optimistic attitudes is that of mental ventilation. A mind full of gloomily foreboding thoughts makes difficult the cheerful and spirited quality of thinking that stimulates enthusiasm. So mental ventilation is a highly important step in reconditioning the mind to accept the creative thought climate in which enthusiasm may develop and finally become the dominant factor.
A vital element in developing enthusiasm, as a project manager, is the manner in which you start the day. You can pretty well condition a day in the first five minutes after you wake up. Of course, some people are naturally slow starters and for them it takes time to become fully awake and adjusted to a new day. But even so, careful attention to the matter of setting the tone of a day in the early hours is likely to have a determinate effect. This good news technique each morning can help make your day, in spite of the fact that there may be disappointing news that must be faced.
The more good news you tell yourself, the more such there is likely to be. The practice will also help you take bad news in your stride. At any rate, that which the mind receives upon awakening tends to influence and to a considerable degree determine what your day will be. I always read some positive sentences from some books after having my breakfast every day, that’s works for me. Regardless of how busy my day is going to be, in those few minutes no hurry or haste is permitted, even in thought.
Every morning we experience a new set of facts. When the facts are bad we can choose how to react in front of them. I have a friend who has experienced some tragic trials and reverses in his lifetime. But he says, “A reversal is not a disaster, merely an incident in a total business career”. He always starts the day happy and convinced about any issues can be solved. Choose enthusiasm daily and you are likely to have it permanently.
The key is how to have continuous enthusiasm. Sustaining enthusiasm is often difficult for some project managers, especially for older persons. The natural enthusiasm of youth may take a fearful battering as the years add up. Disappointments, project failures, frustrated hopes and ambitions, the drain-off of natural energy all conspire to dull excitement and enthusiastic response. But such deterioration of your life force need not occur. In fact it happens only if you allowed it to happen. You can be an enthusiastic project manager your whole life.
I believe the enthusiasm’ generator is to find for your motivators. I am always looking for new projects and initiatives that keep me alive and happy. Develop your enthusiasm; apply your passion managing people in projects. And please don’t forget that “every day is a good day”. Smile every day. Some people asked me if I had any muscular problem in my face because I am smiling very frequently. Start the day focused on your blessings and you will react to your issues and problems with a better and positive approach. So that way you will keep on your enthusiasm.
Today is a Good Day to use your enthusiasm and then tomorrow will be even better!
Alfonso Bucero, MSc, CPS, PMP, PMI-RMP, PfMP, PMI Fellow
BUCERO PM Consulting