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

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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.