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How to Manage a Demanding Workload

How to Manage a Demanding Workload
By Susanne Madsen

As a project management coach and facilitator I often come across project managers who find their workload overwhelming. They want to do a good job and don’t want to appear “weak” by saying no to more work. But in spite of working long hours, there is so much on their plate that only the most urgent requests get their attention. At the bottom of the pile are the more proactive and strategic activities that they never get around to. In the long run, it’s dissatisfying and overwhelming and can cause their projects to fail! If you recognize yourself in the above description, here are some tips:

Asking for help is OK

Fortunately there are several things you can do to improve the situation, but to reap the benefits you must be prepared to review your working patterns and even some of your beliefs. Read the Complete Article

Are Your Beliefs Helping or Hindering You as a Leader?

Are Your Beliefs Helping or Hindering You as a Leader?
By Susanne Madsen

Have you ever considered how important your values and beliefs are to the results you get (or don’t get) in your personal and professional life? Beliefs are so powerful that they shape your attitudes, decisions, actions, and ultimately determine your results. They are something you accept as being true or real. They are firmly held opinions about what you think you can and cannot do. Henry Ford said it very well; ‘whether you think you can or can’t either way you are right’.

Beliefs play a large role in how we interpret the world and serve as a kind of lens through which we look. The things we see, experience, think and feel are all adjusted through this lens to fit with our beliefs. If we believe that change is good and that opportunity is everywhere that is what we will see. Read the Complete Article

The Yin and Yang of Project Leadership

The Yin and Yang of Project Leadership
By Susanne Madsen

Provide your team with the best conditions for growth

In order to provide your team with the best conditions for growth and enable them to generate optimal results on the project, you must do two things; 1) You must demand a great outcome, and 2) You must enable your team to generate that outcome. You have to ask challenging questions, set high standards and expect the best quality on the one hand, and on the other you have to provide the team with all the support it needs to deliver.

The ability to fully support and enable your team to grow and at the same time challenge and stretch it, is a skill that can be learnt and honed over time. Let us look at how you can do that by using the concepts of yin and yang.

Yin and Yang of Project Leadership

Figure 1: Yin and Yang of Project Leadership

Yin-leaders support; yang-leaders challenge

Yin symbolizes the feminine elements such as listening, supporting, coaching and maintaining stability. Read the Complete Article

What Are the 3 Biggest Mistakes That Project Managers Make?

What Are the 3 Biggest Mistakes That Project Managers Make?
By Susanne Madsen

In my role as a project leadership coach, trainer and facilitator I come across many project managers who are struggling to gain traction on their projects. They find it hard to get team members to commit, to gain buy-in from stakeholders and to win people over. They put in a lot of effort and complete a lot of work; yet they are not getting the results they want. Their projects are slipping, their clients are unhappy and their teams are de-motivated. Often, it is the most urgent requests that get their attention. At the bottom of the pile are activities that they never get around to. They are simply too busy to be on top of it all and are falling pray to three of the most common traps in the project management:

  • They manage tasks, events and processes at the expense of leading people.
Read the Complete Article

What Are the Differences Between Management and Leadership?

What Are the Differences Between Management and Leadership?
By Susanne Madsen

Management is said to be the discipline that specializes on maintaining the status quo, conforming to standards and organizing and directing individuals around the boundaries (time, money, quality criteria etc.) that have been set to achieve the task. If you are a good manager it means that you are good at producing a set of products and services in a predictable way, day after day, on budget and to consistent quality. It is a discipline, which requires you to be rational and logical and make use of certain skills and methods.

Management vs Leadership

Figure 1: Management vs. leadership

Leadership on the other hand is concerned with setting goals, making improvements to existing ways of working and motivating and leading the team to reaching this new direction. It is characterized by certain behaviors such as sharing an inspiring vision, producing useful change, leading by example, empowering others and creating the most conducive environment for team success. Read the Complete Article

The Power of Asking for Feedback

The Power of Asking for Feedback
By Susanne Madsen

Asking for feedback is one of the most powerful tools on your road to personal and professional growth and it’s an excellent way to strengthen trust and relationships on the projects you are leading. The people you work with can see you from all angles, but without the use of a mirror you can only see a limited part of yourself. Without feedback it can be hard to ascertain – not just how you look – but also what effect your leadership style has on others. You can pick some of this up by observing people’s body language and how they react to you, but you will get a much better understanding by asking them directly.

Many people shy away from asking for feedback because they are afraid what they will be told, but we are much better off knowing than not knowing. Read the Complete Article

10 Tips for Handling Conflict

10 Tips for Handling Conflict
By Susanne Madsen

Conflict is a situation where people have contrasting feelings, needs, perceptions and interests. It often occurs when people feel they are losing something they value. This could be anything from material to immaterial possessions, such as ideals, standards, aspirations, reputation, status or self esteem.

As a project manager you are more than likely to come across situations of difficulty and conflict. The more complex and high profile your project is, the higher the likelihood may be. Disagreements can arise between a group of stakeholders and yourself, or it may be that several stakeholders disagree between them and that your role becomes that of a mediator. In some cases your stakeholders would have already worked together elsewhere, and any personal disputes between them could flare up as political clashes on your project.

Disagreements are likely to arise as a consequence of unexpected changes on your project, or during the initiation phase, when the foundations have to be agreed upon. Read the Complete Article

8 Things Project Managers Should Do Every Week!

8 Things Project Managers Should Do Every Week!
By Susanne Madsen

In a previous blog post we discussed 7 things project managers should do every day. In this post we look at the activities that project managers should do on a weekly basis.

  1. Meet with your client

    Your client is the most important element of any project, so keep them close and speak to them every week about their needs, worries and requirements. Keep them updated with the project’s status, progress, and any risks, issues or decisions you need their input on. Face to face communication is best, followed by telephone. Don’t rely on email and written status reports alone.

  2. Assess project progress

    Spend time with your team each week ascertaining the progress you have made and update the project plan. If something is not on track, discuss what the root causes are and take corrective action. Empower people to take responsibility for their assignments and to commit to the estimates they provide.

Read the Complete Article

The Most Common Communication Mistakes Project Managers Make

The Most Common Communication Mistakes Project Managers Make
By Susanne Madsen

Don’t get me wrong! A lot of project managers are doing a fantastic job of organizing and delivering their projects and keeping their clients happy. But it’s probably still true, that the majority of PMs are stronger with the harder skills of creating plans and reports than with the softer skills of communicating and motivating people. The below mistakes are the ones I the most often see project managers make when it comes to the softer communication skills.

  • Speaking more than you listen

    A big part of a project managers’ job is concerned with assigning work, resolving issues, coordinating activities and assessing progress. The pressure is on and they are busy getting everything done. In this process they often give orders and tell people what to do. Very few take the time to really connect with the individual; ask for input, listen, and check how their message has been understood.

Read the Complete Article

6 Principles for Building Trusting and Lasting Relationships With Your Stakeholders

6 Principles for Building Trusting and Lasting Relationships With Your Stakeholders
By Susanne Madsen

A successful project manger is so much more than someone who is capable of producing a plan and track its activities. To set ourselves apart, we have to have drive, confidence and attitude and focus on people as much as we focus on tasks.

Your ability to build trusting and lasting relationships with your stakeholders is one of the key ingredients to becoming a successful project manger. To improve the way you communicate and interact with people, use the below best practice principles. As you read through them, ask yourself how good you are on a scale from 1 to 10 at using that particular principle in your daily interactions.

  1. Listen to others and seek first to understand before being understood. When you invest time in really understanding your stakeholders, the dynamics of the conversations and your relationships change.
Read the Complete Article

Recommended PM App

Recommended PM App

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