By Amanda Winstead
As a project manager, you need to run a tight ship. Your team needs to assume that they are in good hands, and if they do, then there’s a great chance that your project will succeed. However, if your team does not have faith in your qualifications or your belief in them as individuals, there is a chance that they won’t give 100% in their work, or they may also quit. There are certain things that every team member expects from their leader. Here are a few of them and how you can improve your skills and show your staff that you’re a true leader.
1. Proper Communication
The most essential skill to possess is the ability to communicate with your team. Learn how to speak to each member to maximize their potential and teach them how to do the job to the best of their ability. A good leader has the ability to talk to all employees, even those on different hierarchical levels within an organization. You will also likely be required to communicate with employees and stakeholders who may not be actively involved in your particular project.
No matter who you talk to, you must be vocal and understanding when you speak to your team. Tell them what they need to know but also ask for questions, and if you can’t provide the answer then and there, promise to find out and follow through.
2. Manage Remote Work
Communication and proper management techniques are even more critical if you run a remote team, which is the case more often than not these days. When your employees work alone at home, it’s easy for them to feel isolated, and that loneliness can affect their work. Make it a point to reach out to your remote employees daily over phone, text, and email. Since face-to-face communication is also essential, set up weekly video conference sessions where you can talk about current tasks, the future of the project, or even weekend plans.
Setting expectations is also essential when you have a remote team. Make their tasks clear, and then let them know when you expect the completion of those tasks and hold the team accountable. You can use a project management tool like Monday.com to ensure that everyone knows their responsibilities.
3. The Ability to Properly Manage Workflow
Any project you manage can only succeed if you have a smart workflow. Everyone on the team must know their place and be able to complete their work so the next team member can continue on seamlessly. While managing workflow is crucial for your success, it is also the key to your employees’ mental health.
When your workflow is perfect, there will be fewer errors, improved delivery times, and reduced duplicate tasks. If your team members constantly need to complete repetitive tasks and work long hours on assignments that could easily be automated, they will leave work feeling drained and they may eventually experience burnout.
Instead, treating your team members as human beings is best. Give them one task and let them work it to completion. Avoid unnecessary multitasking. Allow them to take breaks and lunches on time. Most importantly, have an open-door policy so employees can come to you when they feel drained or want to provide feedback. They must believe you will actively listen to them and support them.
4. The Encouragement of Team Cohesion
Your team also wants a manager who makes it a point to ensure they are happy while having the ability to truly work as one united group. It’s called team cohesion. When a team is cohesive, it means everyone understands their role and knows they bring their own strengths to the collective unit. When everyone knows they have a part to play and they are proud of what they contribute, then they will also work better together, and your project has a greater chance of success.
If you don’t believe your team is experiencing true cohesion, you may want to intervene. Create smaller groups or partnerships within your team so interpersonal interaction is encouraged. Sometimes a new staff can take time to intermingle, so you may need to give it time.
5. Be Transparent
Although there will likely be confidential information you can’t share with everyone, your team will appreciate it when you are as transparent as possible in the workplace. Your team wants you to be honest with them, especially when your words impact their work. By being transparent, you encourage communication and sharing, stronger workplace culture, and happier employees.
The worst thing that can happen is for an employee to find out from a third party that the project is canceled or not going as expected and realize that you knew about it first. Be careful not to lose that trust or you may never get it back.
Project managers who want to see their teams succeed must perfect these five skills. If you need to improve on other skills not discussed here, talk to a superior and get some constructive feedback. Managers who continually work to hone their craft and build up their employees will have a greater chance at success.