Category Archives: Project Management

13 Ways to Help Your Team Stay Motivated

The project is on the line. The deadline is looming. The details are so frustrating or the time investment seems overwhelming. When it’s time to work hard to get your team back on track, what steps are you taking to make it possible to remain motivated? Keeping your team motivated is one of the hallmarks of a professional architect, engineer or project manager. If you are struggling with a current project, employ these tips to get your team ready to go.

  1. Establish Specific Goals

Every project needs very specific goals. Create tasks that outline the very specific steps towards each milestone. It’s easy to stay motivated when you know where you are going.

  1. Create Daily Tasks

For many professionals, it can seem like the looming project is just too large to focus on – will you ever complete it? More specifically, you may feel as though you have “one more day” to get it done. Instead, at the start of the week or the beginning of each day create very specific tasks to accomplish. Tick them off the list as completed.

  1. Put a Carrot In Front Of Your Team

What’s the best reward for completing this project quickly or by the due date? Could it be a bigger payout? Could it mean a day off for the team? Is there something else your team will value such as lunch at the new restaurant down the road?

  1. Remain a Positive Leader

If you become discouraged, so will your team. Find a way to remain positive throughout the project. If you aren’t able to be positive, examine why.

  1. Be Ready To Make Changes When Necessary

Recognizing the need to switch the team up or to adjust the project goals can make a big difference in the long term. Not waiting too long to take action will help minimize team frustration.

  1. Keep Work To Work Hours

If you are always on your phone, always communicating with the client, always checking email, or always thinking about the project, you’ll burn out quickly. Instead, focus on taking a break each day from work.

  1. Go for A Run And Encourage Your Team To Do So Too

It’s important to clear your mind. Spending time outdoors can help especially when you feel overwhelmed or discouraged. The sunshine itself can boost your mood. Take a few minutes during lunch to go for a run or walk. Instead of meeting in a conference room, can you take a walk around the building as you discuss something with a team member?

  1. Track Productiveness

Are your team members being productive? Are you getting the most you can? Use time tracking software to see what everyone is accomplishing. Track your hours invested in every task of the project.

  1. Ask for Time When You Need It

Rushing to meet the deadline could mean disappointing the client with an inferior product. Avoid this by requesting additional time when it is necessary.

  1. Open the Lines Of Communication

Is your team lacking motivation because they don’t know the vision of the client? Make sure everyone is able to communicate openly.

  1. Use Technology

Are you using the most up to date technology to manage your project? If you are not streamlining your project management to include all project aspects in one software program, you could be wasting time and become frustrated.

  1. Recognize Your Team’s Achievements

When you get over a tough spot recognize your team for it. When you reach a milestone, impress the client, or otherwise accomplish a task that’s significant, recognize your success and that of your team.

  1. Celebrate Your Successes

It feels good to wrap up the project. When you have the ability to get back on track, get the project wrapped up and impress the client, give yourself time to feel good about what you’ve accomplished.

Motivated yet? Now is the time to take action to give your team the boost they need to get this project in the hands of the client.

7 Tips for Keeping Projects On Track During the Holiday Season  

Just as your finances, diet and exercise routine can get thrown out of whack with the arrival of the holidays, so can the progress on your various projects at work. The following are seven tips that will help you keep your projects on track this holiday season.

Be a Good Example

Your employees will follow your lead in terms of focus and intensity. Therefore it’s crucial that you maintain order and focus during the holiday season. This will communicate your desire to remain on track in regard to your projects, regardless of the date. After all, if you are getting lax in your own productivity, how can you expect your employees to do any better?

Ask For Regular Project Status Reports

Consider asking for either weekly or biweekly reports on all the projects you have going on. Knowing they will have to provide a progress report will help employees remain focused on the job at hand. Of course, it’s important that you are realistic about these status reports. It’s going to be more difficult during the holidays to be productive. Some of this has nothing to do with your employees so be reasonable.

Give Them a Break

The first two tips involved increased focus and intensity during the holidays. This tip goes the other direction, but is just as valid, perhaps even more so. The holidays are a busy time. As a result your employees will have many demands outside the office. Therefore, it is important that you allow them to take some time off to get things done. Give them some shopping days and let them leave early to go to drama practice for their play at church. Allow them the time they need to go to family functions. This in turn will lead to them being more focused during regular working hours because they will have the time they need to get their tasks done.

Put Big Projects on the Back Burner

No, it’s not always possible to put a project off until after the first of the year. Sometimes it just has to be done. If it is at all possible, pushing a big project back to after the first of the year can take a lot of pressure off your employees and allow your team to have some fun during the holidays.

Have Fun

Speaking of fun, you don’t want to be your office’s equivalent of the Grinch. You do need to acknowledge the festivities of the holiday season and make your office a happy place. Play holiday music if your employees enjoy this. Decorate. Keep cookies or trail mix available in the break room. In short, make your office a jolly place so your employees will enjoy being there.

Talk About the Good Things

Another way to keep projects on track during the holidays is simply to reminisce about the past year by looking over your business successes. At the same time, acknowledge your employees’ accomplishments. A good way to do this is to award your employees in some way or another.

Give Bonuses

Speaking of awards, perhaps the best way of all to encourage productivity is to reward employees in the form of bonuses. Yes, it’s great to acknowledge your employees’ hard work, like mentioned above. But, it’s even better to reward them financially. By doing this, you will ensure they work even harder for you during the holidays. Remember, a person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.”
Try the tips listed above to keep your office on track this holiday season.

So Your Project Has Gotten Off Track: How To Know It’s Time to Make a Change

From the contractor’s constant “you can’t do that” to the client’s endless number of changes and ideas, it is very common for projects to get off track. Architects, engineers and project managers know when things become “off” simply because the project doesn’t feel right or no longer is anything like what it originally was supposed to be. How do you know when your project has gotten off track?

Is Your Budget No Longer Under Control?

A key indication that there’s a need to pull back from a project and reevaluate it happens when the budget gets too far off from the original goal. If you are working on a bid for a project and the client’s “desired budget” is no longer in line with where you stand, it is time to pull back. If you are using tracking software to create and manage a budget, it’s clear to see when overages become more than expected. When this occurs, it helps to reign in expectations and dollar amounts. Though not easy to do, it can be one of the most important steps you take to keep the project in place.

If costs become too high, clients will walk away. However, if you are tracking and managing budgets now, you can begin to see when costs reach 10% or higher above the desired budget and act. In doing so, you may not lose that contract outright.

Are You Investing Too Much Time for It to Be Worthwhile?

Perhaps harder for an architecture or engineering firm to manage are the labor costs of creating and managing the project. Often times changes, complications, and delays pile up. The amount of time you are putting into managing your project is becoming a problem. Can you possibly make a profit from the project when you can’t get the design off to the client because of changes?

It’s essential to track hours invested in any project from day one. In doing so, it is possible that you’ll be able to better manage the project’s costs. For example, tracking hours used can give you a clue that it is time to go back to the client for more clear instruction before investing additional time into the process.

Signs It’s Time to Do Something

Still not sure if you project is on track? Consider these common traits of failing or struggling projects:

  • The person with the original vision for the project is no longer on board or participating
  • The project lacks a person to provide direction and vision
  • The scope keeps changing because too many people are offering input
  • The original goals of the project are no longer present
  • There is no agreement on what a successful outcome is

Are the risks of rejection of the project too high? It may be necessary, then, to pull back on the project to take a closer look at expectations, budgets, and goals. Though it can be hard to put the brakes on when you’ve already spent a great deal of time and energy on a project, it is nearly always beneficial to regroup before moving forward. After all, you could pull back, make some adjustments, realign your numbers, and end up with a far more profitable project than you had when you started.

So Your Project Has Gotten Off Track: 5 Steps to Take to Start Getting Your Project Back on Track

It’s been a tough few weeks on the new project. The team is working hard but somehow you’re falling behind. Communication with the client isn’t going well or perhaps you are just overwhelmed and frustrated because things aren’t coming together as they should. Every architect, engineer and project manager knows the pressure of a project that falls behind. If you recognize that your project is slipping away from you, it’s necessary to grab a hold of it now and do something to get it back on track before it becomes impossible to do so. These 5 steps give you the direction to get back in business.

  1. Discover The Underlying Problem

The most important step is to find out what’s failing. Don’t look at just the surface but rather the depth of the problem. Ultimately, your company cannot move forward until you identify and correct the underlying cause. This could be:

  • Staff leaving the project
  • Limited time dedicated to the project
  • Poor communication
  • Unclear expectations from clients and contractors
  • Limitations in the scope of the project

Once you understand the cause, formulate a solution to deal with that right now. Then, take steps to move the project in the right direction based on your findings.

  1. Put In Extra Time To Get Caught Up

A big problem with derailed projects is a lack of time invested. Sure, you may have a team investing 40 hours a week on the project, but if they are not actually working hard at achieving goals because of a lack of motivation or direction, those 40 hours are worthless. It may be necessary to begin tracking hours worked and compare these against the outcome. What’s being accomplished within the hours dedicated to the project?

  1. Go Back To The Vision And Original Plan

In many situations, the heart of the problem stems from misdirection or changes related to the original plan. Are you no longer on scope? Is your project overrun in terms of budget because of the numerous changes present? It’s a common situation that can stall a project immediately. Go back to the beginning project. Determine if your vision is clear, if it should be reassessed, or if you should go back to the client to realign project goals and specs.

  1. Take A Close Look At Resources

Are you just throwing extra people at the problem, and money, and hoping it fixes itself? Take a closer look at your resources:

  • Consider re-delegating and re-allocating people to the right tasks, those they are best suited for.
  • Spread out hard or time-consuming tasks among several people to get caught up
  • Identify those who are not contributing efficiently

Your resources are the bread and butter of your company and the project. Using them wisely is critical.

  1. Talk To Your Client

Even if you’ve caught the project before it collapsed, it’s important to bring the client in on what’s occurring and why. The client may need to make changes to the project or expectations. Having open communication here is critical.

Taking the time to analyze your project on a regular basis by tracking hours worked, progress, changes in costs, and other details can help ensure your project achieves the best outcome possible.

So Your Project Has Gotten Off Track: How to Keep Your Project on Track Going Forward 

Any architecture or engineering project can get off track quickly. When your project slips off the original path or begins to fall behind, recognizing that it is happening and taking action to stop it is important. But what can you do to stop this problem from occurring again?

Recap the Problem

Now that the project is back on track and the fog has settled, you can begin to take inventory of what occurred and why. From here, you can keep the project on track while you also take steps to reduce the risk of the same problem occurring a second time. Determine what happened then analyze what you could have done to avoid it. Create an action plan that outlines the who, what, where, and how of how you’ll address this problem should it occur again. Apply the lessons you’ve learned going forward.

Tips for Keeping It Moving in the Right Direction

If you know what went wrong it’s easy to take steps to avoid that specific problem again. However, there’s more at risk in nearly all architecture and engineering projects. Much more can go wrong and delay or even halt the project again. These tips will help you to keep it going forward without further limitations.

  • Create very specific steps for the next phase of the project. Take more time to ensure that everyone on the project is on the same page. Invest more in the foundation of the project. Creating a very specific work plan can iron out many of these problems.
  • Free up some time to spend better managing the project. Of course, it is essential to manage your time on the project to ensure you do not go over the hours you budgeted for on the contract. However, it may keep the project more on track if you have more time to manage the details and the people involved.
  • Set milestones to check on progress at more frequent intervals. Don’t allow projects to get too far out of your reach. By scheduling specific dates and times to review projects, you can check on the details more thoroughly without investing a great amount of time at the end of the project trying to fix the mistakes.
  • Always strive to keep your team working towards a solution. While you may have the management experience and know-how to ensure the job is done properly, be open to opinions. Get your team involved in finding creative solutions to unique project problems and limitations. Keep an open mind as much as possible on how to achieve results.

Regardless of why your architecture or engineering project fell behind, it’s possible to reevaluate the mistakes made and the solutions to ensure the rest of the project goes well. Ultimately, this is a learning experience that can help your architecture or engineering firm to move forward. Using the right tools, such as time and material tracking software can help you to remain in control going forward.

So Your Project Has Gotten Off Track: How to Tell Your Clients a Project Is Delayed

You planned well. You spent a good deal of time managing every component of the project. The bid was approved. The budget was in hand. Somehow, changes happened, communications slipped and you are delayed. Nearly every architect project can fall behind from time to time even when plans are well laid from the start. The key here is to know how to tell your client the project is delayed without putting it on the line. How can you avoid disappointing your client while still presenting the bad news?

Ensure You Are Protected

It’s easy to look back now and realize you should have taken different steps. Yet, it is important to avoid some complications from the start.

  • Be sure your contracts outline key circumstances that could delay projects especially those you cannot control such as weather, material cost changes and availability, or client changes to the project scope.
  • Always create a realistic deadline, not one established to impress the client.
  • Add additional time into the project timeline.

When the project is about to get underway ensure these components are in place before you consider signing on the contract’s dotted line.

Be Upfront and Open with the Client

Let’s say a project has become delayed because of the change in scope presented by the client after the project got started. If you are tracking your team’s hours and managing the project timeline using documenting software, it is clear you’ll be able to show your client what’s happening and why. Be upfront with your client. If this change occurs, it is going to the delay the project by this amount of time.

Be Specific About the Problem

What is the delay? Perhaps you didn’t budget time wisely. There may be unknowns that required going back to the drawing board and starting over. It could be a lack of skilled team members or poor weather conditions. When it is your fault, state that. Whatever the cause, inform the client. By being misleading, you are creating a lack of trust not only in your management skills, but also in the finished project. That can cost you for years to come.

Keep the Client in the Loop

It’s also highly effective and beneficial to consider your client your team member not just the guy paying for the project. By including him or her into the planning process as well as any and all components of the project, the client is fully aware of why a delay is occurring, what it means to the deadline, and what he or she could do to avoid it. View your client as a part of the team from the start. Even if you are just now facing a delay, welcome your client into the office now and get everyone on the same page.

Ultimately, mistakes will happen. Budgets will need to stretch. Products may not arrive on time and you may even find that your clients are frustrated with the delay. By keeping the lines of communication open at all times you can keep that client’s confidence in you through the end of the project. Avoiding the client, making up excuses, or just not delivering as promised isn’t going to impress him or her or encourage them to work with you again.

 

Why a Project Management Tool Will Let You Have More Free Time  

Time is money.” Therefore, by shaving minutes and hours off of different stages of a project can make a world of difference in your income. After all, if you finish a job faster you can move on to additional money making ventures netting you and your business a greater income or just have more time to live life. So, how do you save time during the project management process? The following are a few of the best ways you can use project management tools to save you valuable time.

Financial Software

There are various types of financial software that can be used for project management. You can use them to create invoices to send to clients on a regular basis. Having your billing organized and scheduled will save you a great deal of time. Also, you can use this software to pay your bills. This will ensure you keep up with the money you have coming in, and your expenses going out such as the taxes you owe and the fees for engineers, printers and other professionals you pay as part of a project.

Personal Organization Tools

Another type of tool you can use to save time and stay on task is a personal organization tool. It will organize what you need to complete each and every day in the form of a daily to-do list. As you know, many days you spend several hours simply putting out various fires here and there. You likely end your day realizing that you still didn’t get A, B and C done that were crucial. As a result you have to work overtime. Some of this can’t be helped due to the fact that you have to deal with unexpected issues. However, personal organization can help this problem immensely. By using a tool in the form of an app or software to keep your own day properly prioritized, you can ensure you shave some work time off your day and set a good example for your employees.

Group Organization Software

To save time, you need to make sure your employees and associates are all on the same page. Group organizational software does just that. It places all tasks, lists and questions in a central location. As a result, your employees and everyone else involved in the project are able to see what is going on. You can even use this tool to assign specific tasks to your employees or to other professionals you are working with. Really helpful versions of this software also allow file storage and sharing to make the whole process go faster and smoother.

Time Measurement Tools

Each project demands hours of time to complete. Having an accurate total of the hours spent working on a project is crucial since this is the only way you can bill correctly and be paid fairly. Therefore, using software that will help you and your employees track the time spent on a project is important. Asking employees to stop each day and add up their hours and break that down per project can be time consuming in and of itself. So, by giving them an easy, quick way to do this task you will help them save time each day.

It seems there are never enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done. Thankfully, by using project management tools like those described above you can streamline your tasks and be more productive. As a result you will be saving valuable time.

What to Do When Your Project Goes Over Budget  

The job of an architect, engineer or project manager is to give clients what they want. It’s quite common for budgets and expectations to be well out of line. When a project is underway changes, unexpected delays, and changing material pricing can impact the budget. As a professional you know it’s not your fault the budget is overrunning its limit, but the client is looking to you for a solution.

Keep Budget Details Clear for Clients

From the initial bid to the completed project, it’s essential that everyone remains on the same page when it comes to finances. The initial bid will include a full breakdown of costs. If and when these costs differ throughout the project, the client should be provided with specific information. Tracking is essential throughout the project. Costs will change, but showing specific details about these changes in real time is an effective way to keep all parties involved in decisions about the budget.

Managing Estimating Errors

Cost overruns occur for many reasons. It is a common part of the construction process. Project management software can help to minimize these risks, but it’s also important to avoid them when possible. Key causes of overruns include:

  • Omissions: Ensure full cost detailing is provided to clients before and during the project
  • Assumptions: Ensure clients fully understand the required materials for the project and the price. Don’t base any cost on assumptions
  • Inadequate allowances: Careful consideration of materials, labor, and other costs needs to be taken
  • Price changes: Planning a buffer for this constant concern, securing better relationships with suppliers for long-term pricing, and ensuring the project moves along quickly to avoid delays can help

Other common concerns often revolve around inaccurate or incomplete pricing details. Organization, time management, and tracking of detailed product and material pricing can minimize these risks.

Managing the Overage

Budget overruns can be dealt with in only a handful of ways. It may be possible to negotiate price reductions for materials, but in most cases, it comes down to the client getting what he or she wants and paying for it or making changes. Steps architects and engineers can take include:

  • Exploring secondary options with clients and considering the consequences of altering the design
  • Showcase the value and worth of the expenses; perhaps it benefits or improves the project
  • Discuss circumstances openly; work with clients to find a solution
  • Pad bids with a percentage of potential overage from the start, clearly indicating the risks involved
  • Pull up specific data that shows line by line detailing of the overruns, where they occurred, and why they occurred

In some cases, overages cannot be compensated for and the project has to stop moving forward. However, if an architecture or engineering firm invests time in accurately capturing costs from the start, indicating the very real possibility to clients of potential overruns, and tracks budgetary changes step by step, it is possible to maintain a positive relationship with clients.

The right software can make this possible. Project management software that breaks down material costs and tracks time clearly answers the question of “why” that many project owners have. Architecture and engineering firms fully understand and work hard to minimize the risks of projects running over budget, but in many cases it happens anyway. Handling the problem effectively means remaining organized and communicating with clients.

How to Stay Motivated, No Matter Your Project Length

The longer your architectural or engineering project is, the more important it is to keep your entire team on task and working towards the goal. Motivation isn’t easy to achieve over the long haul, but it directly impacts costs, project completion, satisfaction, deadlines, and perhaps most importantly, the satisfaction of every member on your team. Recognizing the need to boost team motivation is a very positive first step. From there, project teams need to find ways to get back to the heart of what they need to do to wrap the project up.

Discuss Why Motivation Is Lacking

Gather your team. Sit down with no papers, computers, or phones in hand. Discuss what is wrong with the project. In many situations, projects start out with excitement. Your team is charged and ready to get to work. Then, it slowly become a problem. But, why?

  • Is it a client communication problem holding your team back?
  • Are they struggling with a lack of focus or vision for the project?
  • Is the work hard, the paycheck low, and the outcome not ideal?

Once everyone agrees what the problems are, it’s possible to find steps to rectify them. It may simply be improving communication is all that it takes to get everyone back on board and motivated to get the project done.

Tips for Creating Motivation

In other situations, there are no real causes. The project is long or has had numerous delays. It’s frustrating not to see a plan come to life. In these situations, how can you motivate your team to stick to the schedule and still achieve the outcome desired?

  • Create milestones for each project. Breaking up a long project into smaller sections makes it seem less daunting. It also gives every person working on the project a goal that’s within reach.
  • Switch things up. It may be possible to move people around during the long project to give them a fresh take and viewpoint.
  • Make sure the time investment is worth it both in the final outcome and the income generated.
  • Engage your team consistently to see what they need to keep pushing forward and to stay on track.
  • Make a big deal about the achievements. When you reach a milestone or get to a specific point, offer some type of reward, even if it is just a meal out or a few extra hours off.
  • Be positive around your team. You’re their cheerleader and it is your job to keep the project in line. To make this possible, you’ll want to always find the good about every stage of the project.
  • Track your progress. Perhaps you are working on this bid or contract on your own. When this is the case, there is no better reward than to simply see your accomplishments. You can do this by using tracking software to monitor how many hours are worked and what milestones are achieved.

When projects are long, everyone has the responsibility of staying on task to achieve the end result. As an architect, engineer or project manager you know projects are likely to be delayed even further if your team slows down or loses its motivation. Yet, with a bit of encouragement and prompting, it may be possible to push your team to achieve the best possible outcome, far beyond your expectations.

Why Different Conflict Management Styles are All Effective

As an architect, engineer or project manager you know your trade and you know what it takes to impress your client. Yet, being able to manage the project process and dealing with people throughout it can be more challenging. Even those with years of experience can find themselves overwhelmed when a problem arises. How can you effectively and efficiently deal with problems so the project doesn’t stray?

What Are Conflict Management Styles?

Many business owners, architects, engineers and project managers themselves are very much looking for the fastest, shortest, and most efficient way of solving a problem so they can move on from it. However, not every problem can be resolved in the same way. That’s why it pays to learn various conflict management styles. Here are some examples of effective conflict management styles:

  • Accommodating: You allow the other person’s needs to come first and push aside others
  • Forcing: You use your authority to satisfy the problem at hand without regard to the other person’s needs or problem
  • Avoiding: You avoid the problem at hand and work through it without addressing it
  • Compromising: Each party gives in a bit to achieve the goal of working together
  • Collaborating: You work with other people to understand their concerns, talk about your own, and then mutually agree to a solution

Which one is right for your situation? That depends. There are plenty of examples of when one of these methods is better than others. No method is wrong. All can be appropriate depending on the situation.

How Can They All Be Right?

Every situation presents different circumstances. Every method of conflict management can be appropriate at any given time. For example, consider these situations.

  • A team member has a family emergency, but other team members need their help. Accommodating may work here to allow the team member to handle their family situation.
  • Your contractor wants to forgo a problem by skipping a step that could result in a code violation. Forcing is appropriate here because they need to follow the rules.
  • Your team members seem to bicker on a daily basis, but still work well together. You can see their differences contribute to the success of the project. Avoiding here seems to work.
  • You have two team members who are in need of the same tools and resources. Compromising allows both parties to gain something.
  • You and your key architect on a project cannot see eye to eye. Here, collaborating and valuing each others’ opinion can prove to be very valuable.

It’s clear that not every situation can be resolved effectively by every strategy. As a project manager it is up to you to consider all of the facts of the situation and then to determine which method of addressing the problem is best. This can be difficult in some cases, but it always results in your team working together more effectively.

Determining which conflict management strategy is appropriate takes a bit of common sense and a great deal of trial and error. How can you ensure that the best result occurs while also dealing with the conflict at hand? The key is to focus on the best outcome for the project. Sometimes, you will make a mistake here, but you can nearly always turn it around by trying another conflict management strategy if the first strategy doesn’t work.

It Might Be You: Why Your Management Style Might be Making Your Projects Fail (And How You Can Fix That) Pt. 3

The Dangers of Micromanaging in Regards to Productivity:

The human tendency when something needs to be done is to get involved and make sure it happens. In other words, take control. This is especially true with “Type A” personalities, who are perfectionists by nature. If this sounds like you, micromanaging could become an issue, and will likely reduce your employees’ overall productivity. The following outlines why micromanaging is so detrimental and how you can avoid it a project manager:

Micromanaging Increases Stress:

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times that evaluated productivity in various companies, micromanaging can and does lead to stress. In some cases, micromanaging might seem to be working early on, according to the article. However, after a while, the stress of having someone “lord over you” gives way and employees begin getting stressed and this eventually results in a loss of productivity. It can also increase health issues and workplace accidents as well.

How to Change It: As a manager, you have to fight your natural desire to “take charge” and micromanage. Realize how this makes your employees feel. Put yourself in their shoes. One employee quoted in the article said this about how micromanaging made him feel, “we’re just like human machines. They (employers or managers) don’t care whether we feel good, or if we’re having a bad day.” Keep this in mind next time you are tempted to take over.

 

Micromanaging Can Over Complicate Simple Tasks:

As a manager, your job is to oversee those who work under you. However, this doesn’t mean you have to tell them how to do their job per say. The old country saying “there is more than one way to skin a cat,” is applicable here. Your employee might have a way they like handling certain tasks, and you prefer them done a different way. Well, unless their way is simply wrong or dangerous, why do you fight it? Why worry about how they get to the finish line if they make it there. When you nitpick, it just makes getting the job done harder and hampers production. Of course, if an employee isn’t completing their job, this becomes a completely different issue.

 

How to Change It: It’s important that you understand the fact that every time you force your way on your employees in an unhelpful way, it reduces their productivity. Perhaps, because you want things the way you want them, they have to redo things that aren’t wrong, but just aren’t how you want them. This in turn makes them apathetic. They might think, “why bother doing the job, when we are just going to have to change it anyway.” Therefore, keep check of the final product, but don’t feel you have to be involved in every single step. It just isn’t productive.

 

Micromanaging Hampers Employees Aspirations:

Many employees just starting out have the desire to one day make it to management themselves. However, micromanagement from their superior can derail this goal. After all, how will an employee ever learn how to think on their feet, if you as a manager are always right there telling them what to do next? This in turn will make an employee whose goal was to move up become discouraged and eventually become less productive in the process.

How to Change It: Understand that just as a child falls down countless times before they can walk; your employees will stumble a few times as well. Just remember that your goal is for them to grow as employees. They can’t do that with you hovering over their shoulder or controlling what they say and do, though. So, especially when an employee shows management potential, back off somewhat in regards to control.

Micromanaging is a big temptation as a manager. After all, you want things how you want them, when you want them and with a smile. However, you must remember that management means overseeing, not doing. It means shepherding instead of controlling, guiding instead of dictating. If you remember that, you will become a fantastic manager who is overseeing many productive employees.

It Might Be You: Why Your Management Style Might be Making Your Projects Fail (And How You Can Fix That) Pt. 2

Importance of a Positive Attitude in Project Management:

Being a great project manager involves several factors. You, of course, have to be well organized and capable of leading the individuals who are under your supervision. However, you might be surprised to learn that being a superb manager has more to do with your attitude than it does with your intellectual capacity or experience. In fact, it really doesn’t matter what you know or how extensive your work history if you can’t or don’t inspire the individuals who are working under you.

Perhaps, you used to be inspiring when you first started your management career. You used to do well relating to your employees, but now, you just don’t. Now, you find yourself lashing out and being generally negative. Unfortunately, this attitude is all wrong in terms of good management, because to be a great manager, you have to be a positive manager. The following outlines what you shouldn’t do in terms of handling your employees—attitude wise—and how you can fix these issues and begin inspiring those who work under you once again.

Realize You Might be Out-of-Touch on Occasion:

As you transition into a management position, you naturally lose touch with what it takes to produce a product. After all, it’s no longer your job to be the production, but instead to oversee that production. As a result, there are many times that your employees will know more than you in terms of what’s going on with a project. When you get out-of-touch and yet still demand to be “in charge,” you frustrate those who work for you. You start setting deadlines that are unrealistic and you create a stressful, negative workplace. This dynamic is a recipe for disaster.

How to Change It: The way to change being out-of-touch is simple. Just listen. It sounds easy, but it’s amazing how many managers won’t do this small thing. By listening to your employees and their concerns regarding a project, you won’t set unrealistic deadlines or make impractical demands. Consequently, your employees will work harder for you than ever before, because they feel you have their back.

Be Willing to Get Your Hands Dirty:

As a manager, you are in charge of many aspects of a job that regular employees are not. You have to meet with owners, attend countless meetings and flatter clients. They don‘t. They just have to make the product. However, you can’t forget the stress involved in the production part of the job, especially in regards to meeting deadlines. Nor can you refuse to get involved and help when the need arises. You can’t become “above the job,” or this will make your employees unwilling to do anything to help you, including meeting productivity demands.

How to Change It: To ensure your employees remain motivated and productive, you occasionally will have to pitch in, roll up your sleeves and help get a job done. When you do this, you show your employees that you understand how difficult their job is and that you aren’t above good hard work. To best understand this, consider this example: Picture a dictator standing on a ledge pointing out towards the distance, demanding his soldiers fall in and obey orders. In this scenario, the employees are being treated much like slaves. As such, they have no motivation to go the extra mile or to work overtime to get a job done. Consider the alternative, that being a picture of a leader. A leader is a person who stands on the frontline, helps pull the weight and win the battle right alongside those soldiers. They lead from in front. They get their hands dirty and work up a sweat too. They aren’t “above” work. This is how you want to manage, as a leader, not a boss or dictator.

Understand How Your Own Unhappiness Alters Your Behavior:

If you are overly stressed, having issues at home, or struggling with finances, you will almost certainly take this stress out on your employees. You will be short with them, not be sympathetic with any issues they are dealing with and just basically become difficult to be around. In general, you will have a bad attitude, which will in turn lead to a negative atmosphere in your workplace, and reduce productivity.

How to Change It: If you are overly stressed, start to work on that in your own life. Don’t take it out on your employees. To reduce stress, begin a workout regimen, become involved in a ministry of some sort that gives back or start a new hobby. You can even suggest a company fun day and go play golf or even paint ball, or really anything else you all find fun. Just in general, make an effort to reduce your stress, and this will in turn help you relate more positively to your employees and they to you.

 

As the above points have illustrated, your attitude as a manager is vastly important in regards to the productivity of your employees. The saying made popular by motivational speaker Zig Ziglar is worth noting, “They won’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” This saying wasn’t necessarily speaking towards a workplace, but it relates well. As a manager, your employees need to know you care; they need to see a positive attitude and they need to know you are willing to pitch in and help. When you make sure to showcase these attributes, you will be rewarded with hardworking, loyal and productive employees.

It Might Be You: Why Your Management Style Might be Making Your Projects Fail (And How You Can Fix That) Pt. 1

Importance of a Positive Attitude in Project Management:

Being a great project manager involves several factors. You, of course, have to be well organized and capable of leading the individuals who are under your supervision. However, you might be surprised to learn that being a superb manager has more to do with your attitude than it does with your intellectual capacity or experience. In fact, it really doesn’t matter what you know or how extensive your work history if you can’t or don’t inspire the individuals who are working under you.

Perhaps, you used to be inspiring when you first started your management career. You used to do well relating to your employees, but now, you just don’t. Now, you find yourself lashing out and being generally negative. Unfortunately, this attitude is all wrong in terms of good management, because to be a great manager, you have to be a positive manager. The following outlines what you shouldn’t do in terms of handling your employees—attitude wise—and how you can fix these issues and begin inspiring those who work under you once again.

Realize You Might be Out-of-Touch on Occasion:

As you transition into a management position, you naturally lose touch with what it takes to produce a product. After all, it’s no longer your job to be the production, but instead to oversee that production. As a result, there are many times that your employees will know more than you in terms of what’s going on with a project. When you get out-of-touch and yet still demand to be “in charge,” you frustrate those who work for you. You start setting deadlines that are unrealistic and you create a stressful, negative workplace. This dynamic is a recipe for disaster.

How to Change It: The way to change being out-of-touch is simple. Just listen. It sounds easy, but it’s amazing how many managers won’t do this small thing. By listening to your employees and their concerns regarding a project, you won’t set unrealistic deadlines or make impractical demands. Consequently, your employees will work harder for you than ever before, because they feel you have their back.

 

Be Willing to Get Your Hands Dirty:

As a manager, you are in charge of many aspects of a job that regular employees are not. You have to meet with owners, attend countless meetings and flatter clients. They don‘t. They just have to make the product. However, you can’t forget the stress involved in the production part of the job, especially in regards to meeting deadlines. Nor can you refuse to get involved and help when the need arises. You can’t become “above the job,” or this will make your employees unwilling to do anything to help you, including meeting productivity demands.

How to Change It: To ensure your employees remain motivated and productive, you occasionally will have to pitch in, roll up your sleeves and help get a job done. When you do this, you show your employees that you understand how difficult their job is and that you aren’t above good hard work. To best understand this, consider this example: Picture a dictator standing on a ledge pointing out towards the distance, demanding his soldiers fall in and obey orders. In this scenario, the employees are being treated much like slaves. As such, they have no motivation to go the extra mile or to work overtime to get a job done. Consider the alternative, that being a picture of a leader. A leader is a person who stands on the frontline, helps pull the weight and win the battle right alongside those soldiers. They lead from in front. They get their hands dirty and work up a sweat too. They aren’t “above” work. This is how you want to manage, as a leader, not a boss or dictator.

Understand How Your Own Unhappiness Alters Your Behavior:

If you are overly stressed, having issues at home, or struggling with finances, you will almost certainly take this stress out on your employees. You will be short with them, not be sympathetic with any issues they are dealing with and just basically become difficult to be around. In general, you will have a bad attitude, which will in turn lead to a negative atmosphere in your workplace, and reduce productivity.

How to Change It: If you are overly stressed, start to work on that in your own life. Don’t take it out on your employees. To reduce stress, begin a workout regimen, become involved in a ministry of some sort that gives back or start a new hobby. You can even suggest a company fun day and go play golf or even paint ball, or really anything else you all find fun. Just in general, make an effort to reduce your stress, and this will in turn help you relate more positively to your employees and they to you.

 

As the above points have illustrated, your attitude as a manager is vastly important in regards to the productivity of your employees. The saying made popular by motivational speaker Zig Ziglar is worth noting, “They won’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” This saying wasn’t necessarily speaking towards a workplace, but it relates well. As a manager, your employees need to know you care; they need to see a positive attitude and they need to know you are willing to pitch in and help. When you make sure to showcase these attributes, you will be rewarded with hardworking, loyal and productive employees.