Recognize your people and have a positive attitude
Probably you will be familiar with the sentence “Thank you”. Are you aware of it is consuming only very few milligrams of saliva? But not all project managers are saying “thank you” to their team members and other project stakeholders. In fact I asked several project managers about that and their answer was not positive in all cases. Perhaps it is depending on the culture, or may be depending on the leadership maturity from the professional project manager.
Last year I had the opportunity to speak in front of a big project management audience in Istanbul (Turkey). The auditorium was full and I was speaking about the project manager blessings. We are a special kind of people who has the possibility to change a lot of things by managing projects and achieving goals and objectives but it means to dedicate passion, persistence and patience to lead people. And people also do a lot of efforts that need to be recognized. In my presentation I was reinforcing the use of recognizing people by their efforts. After my presentation several people came to me and said: Alfonso, thank you because you made a special point of thanking people publicly for fostering a collaborative spirit in the project we manage. They felt appreciated, and I felt that they had received the credit they deserved.
During my professional career as a project manager I was very lucky because I learned to recognize people, perhaps because I reported to great leaders early in my career and I understood the importance of creating a good spirit of recognition and collaboration in my project teams. Recognition is about shaping an environment in which everyone’s contributions are noticed and appreciated. I strongly believe in the human heart drives a project and also an organizational success, and that this kind of success must be kindled through attention awareness, recognition and reward.
If the need for recognition and approval is a fundamental human drive, then the willingness to give it is not a sign of weakness. My experience and observations regarding great leaders is that they find a balance between getting results and how they get them. A lot of project managers make the mistake of thinking that getting results is all there is to the job. They go after results without building a team or without building an organization that has the capacity to change. Your real job, as a project manager is to get good results and do it in a way that makes your temporary organization (your project) a great place to work, I mean a place where people enjoy coming to work.
I was a project manager assigned, most of my professional life, far away from home. So I had the commitment of caring of people because they worked very long hours. In fact in many projects I asked my team members to work only the expected amount of hours, and taking sometime free for them. I worked with very committed people most of times. When I dealt with difficult people I tried to spend more personal time with them in order to understand them better, and also recognize their efforts too. It is always a challenge but it is worth.
Exemplary and complete project managers understand the need of recognizing contributions and they constantly engage in the following essential aspects:
- They focus on clear standards
- They expect the best from their people
- They pay attention in their people
- They personalize recognition
Putting those principles in practice and recognizing contributions, project managers will be able to stimulate and motivate their people. And also these behaviors are contagious among your project stakeholders in many occasions.
Today is a good day to practice that because tomorrow may be even better. If you want to know more buy my book “Tomorrow will be better” availbale on March 9th at Amazon.
Alfonso Bucero, MSc, CPS, PMP, PMI-RMP, PfMP, PMI Fellow