Why does it seem so difficult for a project manager to get respect? In many ways, a project manager is often seen as an obstruction. Though they perform the critical role of keeping projects on track, they also need repeatedly engage with their team members, and sometimes without a direct hierarchy of authority to support them. Here are a few ways that project managers can gain respect from their employees while keeping everything on course.
1. Keep Your Skills Honed
As a project manager, you need a different set of skills than your team members. You need to be able to manage team members, see the big picture, and plan ahead. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into respect. Many team members find themselves with a natural dislike for their project manager because they don’t think that they understand the industry or the work. They see the project manager as someone with surface or cursory knowledge and thus don’t respect their input. By keeping your skills honed and learning more about each team member’s job, you’ll be able to connect with them on a professional as well as a personal level.
2. Listen to Your Employees
When dealing with team members, it’s easy to have a goal in mind and unwittingly override them. But being a good leader is about listening as well as taking action; your team members will respect you more if you respect them. Practice your active listening techniques and make sure that you’ve given the words of your team members careful consideration. You may find that they have extremely valuable ideas to contribute to the process. Your employees will also be able to tell you whether they are satisfied and what you can do to make their jobs easier.
3. Acknowledge Their Accomplishments
Employees quickly become fatigued and frustrated when their accomplishments aren’t recognized. You may know that you think they’re doing a good job, but when they only hear negatives and complaints, they aren’t going to feel motivated. The best way to counter this is to make sure that they are acknowledged every time they have accomplished something for the team. This will also give them a better idea of what you’re looking for. Most team members want to perform well, but they aren’t mind readers; they need to know what you consider to be success.
4. Trust Their Work
If you’ve delegated a certain process to a team member, that means they are the best fit for the job. Though you do need to check in with them at regular intervals, you should be able to trust them enough to avoid micro-management. Micro-management is rarely beneficial; it slows down your process and theirs, and it breeds resentment. Rather than checking in multiple times a day or even week, give your employees the directive to check in with you at certain set points. You can then contact them if they fail to take the initiative.
Being a project manager is a difficult position, but it’s also a very rewarding one provided everything falls into place. If you’re not getting the respect that you desire from your employees, it may be time to revise your approach. If you need more information about developing your IT team and talent, contact the experts at Software Specialists.