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Inspire Your Team
By Barry Otterholt

There are lots of variables in a project, but none so important as the human sentiment. Remarkable accomplishments are seen from inspired people, and remarkable teams are seen from an inspired leader.

So what can you do to inspire your team? Here are a few tips:

  1. Know them uniquely – Go 1-on-1 with them and learn what matters to them.
  2. Find their gift – Observe what they do well, and not well. Help them understand their natural gifts, and channel your opportunities to align with their strengths.

  3. Promote them – More than just giving them a raise or a new title, call attention to them. Let people around you know what they’re good at and give them your endorsement.

  4. Take risks – As you see strengths, give opportunities that may stretch them. Let them know you won’t abandon them if they fail, but track their progress so they won’t.

  5. Coach them – Provide on-the-job training. As you assign them stretch-opportunities, be aware of their challenges and coach them through situations.

  6. Listen – The best advice often comes from the most unsuspecting people. Seek thought-leadership, and listen when you receive it.

  7. Acknowledge – Let people know when they’ve delivered a gem of an idea or solution. They may not perceive it on their own.

  8. Push back – Require that one or more potential solutions are presented with problems. Remind people that they often have greater context for a problem than you. Affirm them.

If you invest in your people, they will invest in you.

Barry Otterholt, CMC, PMP

Barry Otterholt has been a project management specialist and coach for the past 30 years. He is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and a Project Management Professional (PMP). He works with both public and private sector companies in the USA, Europe and Scandinavia. Mr. Otterholt was a Director with Microsoft, a senior consultant with Deloitte Consulting, and a COO with a nationwide consumer electronics enterprise. In 1988 he founded Public Knowledge, LLC to provide independent management and operational support to the public sector. More recently, he founded Stouffer & Company, LLC to provide as-needed project management services to fill an obvious skills gap in both private and public sectors.

Mr. Otterholt is an adjunct professor teaching project management at Northwest University. His essays on project management have been published in PMI newsletters. His runs a blog, Project Management Essays, where he muses about various project management topics.

Mr. Otterholt is a member of the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC) and the Project Management Institute (PMI). He has a BA in Accounting and Computer Science and an MBA in Business Administration. He lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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