Project Managers know that one of the most important elements in successfully delivering their project is their relationship with your team. Project methodologies, best practices and planning tools are certainly important and are needed for the delivery of successful projects. But they are only two pieces of the total puzzle. The third piece is your relationship with people – and the most important people on your project is your team.
Project Managers are Project Leaders
Strong team relationships are important project manager skills because project managers are project leaders and need the cooperation of their team in order to successfully deliver the project. Without your team and their expertise, you truly will get nowhere. So get your team “on board” through displaying totally commitment and dedication to the project’s goal.
The challenge project managers face is that they often have to share team members with other projects or commitments. For example, I normally have team members that are assigned to my projects for 25% or 50% of their available time. The other 50% or 75% has been assigned to other tasks, like production support (sound familiar?). This puts a lot of strain on the team members as they must constantly multitask in order to get all their assigned tasks completed. Will your project tasks be at the top of their lists of “to dos” today? Well, it depends, doesn’t it? In most cases, if you have built a strong relationship with your team, and received their individual commitments to complete their project tasks, nothing will prevent them from meeting those commitments.
Project Managers Need to Build Strong Team Relationships
It’s very simple. It’s all about Trust, Honesty and Fun. Strong team relationships are built on a foundation of trust:
The team needs to know that you, as a Project Manager will support them, will do what you say you will…when you will (i.e. you have Integrity). This is a great confidence builder. The team needs to have the confidence that their team members will complete the tasks they have been assigned – on time.
The team members must understand that you trust them as well. Think about it – you did pick the right people for the tasks, didn’t you? Well, let them do their jobs. If they feel that you have no confidence in them, then they will perform accordingly.
The team must understand each other to the point where they believe that it is okay to be honest about anything. You as a Project Manager must be the driving force in nurturing this environment. Think of ways in which you can foster an honest, open environment and watch your level of team productivity rise.
And finally, getting to know your team on a social level could be the most powerful and quickest way of breaking down barriers and build strong and productive relationship as project managers.