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Care & Feeding of the Project Manager

One of a project manager's responsibilities is to care and feed for his or her projects. But who cares and feeds the project manager? The project manager often has the most stress on a project balancing the shortage of resources against the customer requirements and management expectations. Project Management is a challenging profession and can wear out project managers faster than a small block Chevy running without oil.

Most project managers are not cared for, let alone fed. Project managers are expected to provide the care and feeding of projects, team members and managers. How can a project manager replenish the "Care and Feed" inventory? Projects perform better when the project manager is charged up and energetically leading the team. In contrast, team morale and performance suffers when project managers are lethargic, overwhelmed and drained.

Here is what you can do as a project manager running on empty in your "Care and Feed" department. Refilling your inventory allows you to pass your energy on to your team members and positively impact your project.

1.    Hire a coach. Your professional coach will help you to prioritize your life, share you successes, keep challenges in perspective and make the space for you to recharge your batteries.

2.    Get regular exercise. Current scientific studies show the value of regular exercise on mental health, positive attitude and general energy levels. Read the work of John M. Ratey, MD for the details for the studies. Take a 30 minute walk at lunchtimes instead of scheduling yet another conference call.

3.    Feed yourself. Take note of the situations that leave you feeling cared for and full. How can you arrange to get into more of these situations, more often? How can you get more out of each occurrence of your "care and fed" situations? How can you take more time to enjoy the sensation? Are you getting compliments? Are you enjoying the compliments you receive?

4.    Think of ways to schedule "Care and feeding time" for yourself. Take 30 minutes a week or ten minutes a day to recognize to list what you have accomplished and your contributions. Then review your list and draw energy from your contributions to make our world the better place to live.

5.    Identify needy people in your life and projects, and set boundaries to reduce the drain on your energy. If you work with an eternal pessimist then experiment with methods to reduce your contact with him or her. Also inform the pessimist of the impact of his attitude and the fact that you work better when people see the positive reality instead of the half-empty glass.

6.    Be alert for people who can restock your "Care and Feed" inventory. Identify the friends that you can call on for a pep-talk, chat or hug. Call your friend when you need a friend, and be a friend when your friend needs a call as well.

7.    Enjoy your family, friends and pets. Sit on the floor with your dog. Stop and smell your roses. You make better decisions and guide your project more effectively when you are present and taking the time to enjoy the ride.

Project managers are expected to lead projects, which can be a drain on your personal "Care and Feed" inventory. Be a better project manager by keeping your "Care and Feed" inventory well-stocked so that you can deliver the goods to your project team members.

Copyright 2018 Wayne Botha Email Wayne Cell: 860.214.4897