Thought Leaders

How To Make Sure Your Team Is Pulling In The Same Direction As A New Project Manager


Congratulations on your recent promotion to project manager! Now that you’ve meticulously planned your project, set clear goals and KPIs, and communicated them to your capable team, you might be wondering why things aren’t progressing as smoothly as expected.

The answer may lie within your team. Perhaps there’s a team member who seems to prioritise ‘the process’ over the outcome, slowing down the momentum with meticulous attention to the finer points of every email. On the flip side, you might have someone with incredible lateral thinking and creative flair, but their tendency to deviate from the plan is hindering progress.

Whatever the trigger – be it a lack of structure, interruptions, resistance to change, or a refusal to seek different perspectives – the responsibility falls on you to align the team and ensure the project is delivered within budget and on time.

In the realm of leadership, the ability to navigate and address challenges head-on is not just a skill; it’s a strategic imperative. As you ascend to the role of project manager your responsibilities extend beyond the mere execution of plans. You are tasked with leading a team, a diverse ensemble of individuals each with their unique strengths, perspectives, and work styles.

The good news, however, is that addressing them is well within your grasp.

Deep dive into your leadership identity

Embarking on the journey of effective people management begins with a deep dive into your own leadership identity.

Understanding and embracing your unique leadership style is not just an exercise in self-awareness but the cornerstone of effective leadership communication. It serves as the lens through which you perceive and respond to the diverse communication needs of your team.

This introspective involves contemplating whether you align more with being:

  • A result-driven leader – your primary focus may revolve around achieving objectives and measurable outcomes. This style is marked by a keen eye for productivity, efficiency, and tangible results.
  • A relationship-driven leader – your emphasis may be on building strong interpersonal connections, fostering collaboration, and nurturing a positive team culture. Here, the success of the project is intertwined with the strength of the relationships within the team.
  • A visionary leader – you tend to paint a compelling picture of the future and inspire your team to reach new heights.
  • A centred leader – your strength probably lies in maintaining balance and harmony within the team.

Understand the preferences of your team members

The next crucial step involves delving deeper into the distinctive styles exhibited by your team members through developing awareness.

A valuable instrument for achieving this understanding is the Insights Discovery model, which meticulously examines the preferences of each team member, using a simple and relatable language of color. Each individual operates with a unique blend of colour energies, ranging across fiery red, sunshine yellow, earth green, or cool blue to varying degrees.

By comprehending and assimilating the intricacies of your team’s individual styles through models such as this, you empower yourself to not only decipher the true meaning behind their communications but also to adeptly adjust your responses seamlessly with theirs.

Understand the behaviours of your team on a good or bad day

Furthermore, exploring the intricate dynamics of your team’s adaptability to various situations is absolutely vital. As you navigate through the bustling landscapes of busy and often stress-laden projects, understanding the ebb and flow of these behavioral patterns becomes a strategic compass.

Here at Insights, as we embark on the journey of enhancing self-awareness, we delve into the realms of ‘good day’ and ‘bad day’ behaviors. Picture ‘good day’ behaviors as the moments when we play to our strengths, putting our best foot forward—the version of ourselves we consciously present and relish.

On the flip side, ‘bad day’ behaviors may emerge when we find ourselves in stress-laden scenarios or when our strengths are pushed beyond their limits. Under excessive pressure, individuals might lose the conscious control of their approach, reverting to a more reactive stance.

Being attuned to the times these behaviors manifest allows you to cultivate patience with team members who might be grappling with challenges and enables you to deftly manage demanding situations. It’s not just about recognising these nuances in yourself, but extending that understanding to others, fostering a collaborative environment that thrives even in the face of adversity.

Pull in the same direction!

Embracing this collaborative approach doesn’t just fortify individual capacities but enriches the team’s overall capabilities.  In essence, being an effective project manager goes beyond planning and goal-setting; it involves adapting to both your style and your team’s diverse style. This means you can foster a more cohesive and productive working environment, ensuring that everyone is pulling in the same direction to achieve success.

Marco Favaloro is Learning and Development Expert at Insights.

Marco Favaloro
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