5 minutes

In this article, we dive straight into the direct method for getting results and building trust with your project teams. This article assumes you are an experienced project manager who is looking to understand WHY something works, rather than looking for WHAT works. After all, you already know what works, which is why you agree with all the headers you have skim read in this article. This article explains WHY these ideas work so that you may better harness their benefits.

A Strong And Confident Command With Planned Approach

Confidence and strength is not a virtue if it isn’t the result of careful and tactful planning. The captain of the Titanic was confident and strong, but his lack of planning led to what could have been an easily-avoided disaster.

A planned process, a planned routine, and a planned week will give you the confidence required to remain strong in the face of adversity, and this rubs off on your team.

Lead By Example And Be Prepared To Do Whatever You Ask Others To Do

We all know this works, but why does it work? The truth is that you can build trust between yourself and your team, and between the members of your team without ever doing the things you ask others to do. The only real reason why this technique may work is two-fold.

It gives your team members one less reason to dislike you. It also gives them an example of the sort of diligence, positivity and enthusiasm that is expected from them. If you approach a tough task with gusto and positivity, they get a feel for what is expected of them.

Actually Do What You Say You Will And Do It With Expedience

Nobody likes a person who says they will do something and then never does it. People seriously dislike and distrust a person who doesn’t keep his or her word. Do what you say you will, and keep to your word.

More importantly, do it quickly. Take ultra-human steps if you have to, but make things happen when you say they will. Let your team see that when they push the button, you react and get the job done. On the same note, do not make promises you cannot keep, and don’t say you will do things if you cannot get them done quickly and correctly (that is common sense).

Accountability Means Responsibility, It Doesn’t Mean Blame

Remember back to the times when you were the one being pressured for results by a shortsighted boss. Why embrace accountability if it simply gives your boss an easy excuse to blame you? Why not pass the buck to other team members and screw them over if you are only going to be blamed for doing your job and not hitting targets? Accountability means that your team’s personal pride is affected when they fail, not their raise or their self-esteem.

Don’t Pressure Needlessly, Instead, Find Out What Your Team Needs To Succeed

Poor quality managers apply pressure without adding support. The more pressure you add, the more funding your team should get, the more team members they should receive, the more resources they should get.

Adding pressure is pointless if you do not add further methods by which your team can succeed. Your team may not realize this fact at first. Some people only ever have poor-quality managers, so they think that the application of pressure to get results is a standard way of managing. However, when your team members figure out that your constant pressure is a mask for your lack of leadership skill, they lose all faith in you and your ability to manage them. If you want a builder to build a higher wall, don’t give him a time limit and deadline penalties. Give him more bricks, higher ladders, more time, more concrete and more laborers.

Make Sure Your Team Members Each Feel Needed

The best way to create a successful team is to make each and every team member feel needed. Make sure each knows how important he or she is to the process. Saying it is not enough, they need to see proof. They need to know they are part of the process, and that their input is vital to the success of each project. If they are not vital to its success–why did you hire them? Napoleon Hill’s book called “Think and grow rich” proved that people will go to extraordinary lengths when they know they are needed.

Allow Your Team To See The Results Of Their Efforts

Results-orientated goals are more helpful than lists of routine tasks. Let your team members know what goals need to be achieved, and let them set their own daily routines and tasks. Monitor their progress, and give them methods by which they may monitor their progress. Let them see the results of their efforts, and they reap the reward of their own hard work. Deny them this pleasure, and they may start to see you as the enemy. The University Of Aberdeen proved this during an experiment. They proved that results-orientated goals are more helpful than lists of routine tasks.

Don’t Insult Your Team With Team-Building Exercises

If you have ever read the highly-syndicated comic called “Dilbert,” you will see plenty of examples that Scott Adams gives about the futility of team-building exercises. Put yourself in your team member’s shoes. You are thrown together with a team and are then told you are not enough of a team, so you have to go and be a team by getting a tennis ball out of a circle by using bits of string.

Set the correct tone, build a positive atmosphere, and you can have the team build themselves. If your team doesn’t feel comfortable enough in your work environment, then they will not feel comfortable enough to meld as a team.

Emphasis Professionalism Over Making Everybody Happy

Some team members will not get along. Don’t try to make them get along. Emphasize professionalism over all else. Their duty is not to like each other, their duty is to be professional and do their jobs.

Remind them that interpersonal relationships are secondary. Do not allow small irritants to become issues in the office. Remind your team that a lion doesn’t hunt mice; it doesn’t chase a mouse that skips across its paw. A kitty chases mice, a lion has better things to do. You may even email them Aesop’s story of the Lion and the mouse if you wish to continue using mice and lion examples with matters of ego and so forth.

Teach Your Team To Lower Their Level Of Arrogance So They Are Rarely Personally Insulted

Some people are so arrogant that they believe what happens at work is personal enough to affect their feelings. Each team member woke up that morning and chose to come to work, and each member chooses to be professional. Arrogantly believing that events at work constitute a personal insult is damaging to the team. It is also a serious personality flaw that makes a team member intolerable after repeated/extended exposure.

There is nothing worse than watching a person break down or become angry because

  • another human being dared to criticize him/her,
  • another human talked down to him/her,
  • another person didn’t treat him/her like the royalty he/she believes he or she is.

Teach them humility and lead by example. Your team will learn to trust you and each other. After all, if you know you are great, why would it bother you if a sadistic co-worker insists you are not? It would be like telling a tall man he is short, or a powerful woman she is weak.

The Atmosphere You Generate And Allow Will Carry Your Team

If you allow your team to moan, complain and fester in a negative environment, then it will become the workplace standard. Help your team understand that their outward affectations, emotions and attitudes will rub off on the rest of the team. Each member has a moral duty to “appear” as happy and comfortable as possible. If your team members cannot handle the responsibility of remaining positive, confident, and happy at work, then maybe that team member should be replaced by one of the thousands of people who would crawl over broken glass for a position in your company (or a job).