Next time you are preparing to lead a new project, sit down and make some notes on ways you could improve. Here are some suggestions.
1. Consider the basic personalities on the team and adjust your management style accordingly in regards to day-to-day project activity. For example, discuss with the perfectionist on the team that while quality is expected, the success of the project is more important than perfection. Perfection could delay or increase project costs which could nullify the benefits of the project.
2. Decide how you are going to motivate and praise your team members. I believe the best way is with private, hand-written notes and public praise. Along the way, you can reward them with perks such as taking the team to lunch or scheduling a celebration dinner upon completion of the project.
3. Communicate to your team the standard you expect in terms of attitude, behavior and quality of work.
4. Encourage open communication and a real team effort in order to complete the project in the most efficient manner possible.
5. Use a project management software tool that allows everyone to participate regardless of their level of technological expertise e.g. administrative support person to the CEO and everyone in between.
6. Agree on the metrics of how to measure progress in order to make sure the level of expectation in regards to communication and follow-up is met.
7. Visit with the project team and agree on everyone’s roles and responsibilities publicly. In addition, have everyone literally sign-on to the project on some sort of physical document to strengthen his or her commitment.
8. When defining the project, focus on the 20% of the tasks that are producing 80% of the results. If there are remaining resources, then tackle the other tasks in terms of their impact. I know this may sound elementary, but many people believe that completion of any of the tasks has the same impact on the project (linear thinking, all inputs produce the same output, which is not true). When scheduling these tasks, always put the highest impact tasks first. Sometimes they will be the easiest and sometimes the hardest to do, but the project will benefit most by doing those tasks first (this also applies to aspects of naturally linear projects such as construction).
9. Be conscious of your language and leadership on the project. Your words and demeanor can lift the project and accelerate it or get it stuck in the mud. An example would be confronting an issue with a team member, acknowledging their capability to handle it and offering support rather than demeaning them with your negative words. You want your team to be the one everyone wants to be on. Using some or all of these tips will help improve your Rock Star status.