Have you ever considered any other defintion of the acronym PM other than Project Management? How about People Manager? Would you agree? I do 100%. Today I’m going to share with you some advice I once received from a great man. I asked once the following question to a man, who is very senior to me and has a lot of experience in leading people:
“As Project Manager I’m leading different teams of different people on different projects. Those people also work on many projects, mine is just one of them. What is more, I’m not their functional manager. I can’t give them more salary, I can’t fire them and I have no other real influence on their work. Now, if you could give me 1 piece of advice. How can I motivate those people to work on my projects first or at least have them working on them with higher priority?”
Here is the answer I received:
“Employee motivation is the most important thing. There are multiple ways, for sure, to achieve this. In my opinion, the best and most stable method is to be absolutely honest and to say things as they are. At the same time, this means that some things wont be done immediately, even if you’d love to have it so. You have to learn to admit, that your own interest is not always the most important one. Look at your peoples tasks and communicate in a clear way what has higher and what lower priority. Sometimes this can be really difficult. If the tasks assigned by you, are the ones with lower priority, well then… bad luck, they will be done later.
In regards to Project Management, I believe you have many tools to prioritize your tasks, f.e. timelines. Obviously those timelines must be comprehensive, i.e. there needs to be a reason why task A needs to be done immediately other than task B which can be done in 2 weeks from now. Be authentic and honest, tell people how things are – and accept the things how they are. Even if that means your tasks have lower priority and will not be done now but later.
This whole concept is a lot harder if you don’t know all the tasks and priorities people have [authors note: like in my question earlier]. Here, a good relationship will be more helpful than the opposite.”
I went through this words like a milion times now. They sound so simple. And I’m still going to admit, this is one of the most valuable advice I have ever received.
Thank you M. !