Overcoming Project Management Obstacles - Personnel

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This is the second in a series based on a workshop I recently presented on Project Management combined with the crowd-sourced input of the attendees who shared their strategies and wisdom.

The workshop was titled Walls, Windows and Doors: Overcoming Obstacles in Project Management. It is based on my belief that the most successful project leaders and managers, when confronted with a wall (obstacle) don't bang their heads against it and curse. Rather they look over it, around it, step off to the left or right until they find a window or door or a low point that let's them go forward. This going forward is simply another way of saying "problem solving".

Today, I'm sharing our crowd-sourced solutions that often happen around the "personnel" part of project management. People can be a project's greatest asset AND greatest liability. This includes not just a project team, but other staff members in the library and partner organization, stakeholders and the community. A reluctant partner, a prima donna on the team, a bully, a negative personality, an unbudgeable patron are just a few on the types of people who can impede project progress.

Personnel Strategies
  • Coach – work with more difficult team members/partners on ways they can play a more positive role. Kindness and respect are the operative words in coaching
  • Communicate – both listen and share in a way that keeps everyone informed and feeling like they are truly a stakeholder
  • Support – through leadership and empathy everyone on the team and in the partnership
  • Provide clear and careful vision and care of the project in your leadership
  • Examine our strong “No!”s to see if they are age-based or based on the facts
  • Strip away emotion from interaction in order to see what the facts are
  • Gut check- if you are losing sleep over an interaction, take action to remediate it
  • When working with a difficult person, be sure to listen to what s/he is saying
  • Look at an unhappy stakeholder as a “devil’s advocate” who can improve the overall project
  • Create a safe space to allow discussion to include difficult subjects or disagreements
  • Easy to get caught up in “loud voices”; seek out quieter people for their perspective and support them
  • Recommended reading/listening - Brene Brown – Rising Strong  - the power of vulnerability; learning to fail and get back up
Stop here for part three (perseverance) - and here again is the link to part one (process). A huge thanks to the wonderful participants in the workshop who so kindly combined and shared their great ideas with us!

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