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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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