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How to Reduce Stress for Project Managers and Their Team
By Heather Buckley

A certain amount of stress is almost inevitable when people are working towards deadlines with finite resources available. You are usually accountable to someone else who’s business or finances are dependant on the success of the project. and they are probably breathing down your neck. However, the way you manage stress will not only affect your performance but the performance of your coworkers and therefore the success of the project. Not all stress is bad:

  • Positive stress – this can actually boosts productivity and can focus your team on the end goal.
  • Negative stress – can demoralize staff, reduce efficiency and de-focus your team.

Since some stress is inevitable its up to the project leader or manager to turn negative stress into positive stress. These are some ways you could promote a positive work environment.

  1. Take Time-Out – Take the time to build positive relationships with team members. Lunchtime, after work activities arranging some time out of work where people can get to know each other will build relationships. this is not a time to talk about work.
  2. Reinforce your collective goal – Schedule monthly get-togethers at which you reiterate the project goals, congratulate them on their successes to date and boost their confidence in doing what it takes to complete the project successfully. Make sure that each person leaves the meeting energized and passionate about finishing the remainder of the project.
  3. Boost the confidence of individual team members – You need to boost every team member by making them feel good about themselves and allowing them to gain confidence in completing the tasks assigned.
  4. Make sure that you recognise and remark upon accomplishments – Providing positive feedback when appropriate, offering bonuses, awards or prizes for outstanding performance, reviewing salaries when applicable.
  5. Locate bad apples – Sometimes teams are de motivated because one person, or a small group gives off a lot of negative energy, they may have a lot of influence on the people around them. You need to address these people directly. You should point out to those responsible that the effect on their co-workers is not good and ask if they can work towards improving so that their coworkers can be happier in their work. If they have a genuine grievance, listen and let them know that you will think about ways of dealing with their problem.
  6. Watch your mood – You must practice what you preach. If you are negatively stressed, then those around you are likely to be also. You need to seem up-beat and positive about the team. You need to feel positive and focused. If you give out positive energy then you and your team stand a much better chance of achieving your shared goals.

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