Sometimes over the course of your career you will be asked to take unofficial management of a project. While at first you might get excited that you were entrusted with this new responsibility, quite quickly it becomes apparent that you are in a sticky situation.
You have responsibility but no authority. It’s totally on you to make sure this project gets completed on-time and on-budget. But since you were handed over project leadership unofficially it’s difficult to get everyone on your side to listen to your instruction.
Now in the old days, mentors might advise you to read some good leadership books, in hopes that you could improve your communication skills, thus increase your likeability and then credibility to your team.
However, I know for myself, I buy books way more than I read them. If your attention span is also of the 21st century variety: impatient even waiting for YouTube to load, thankfully, you’re in luck. Project management is a lot like navigating the fast and furious world of social media.
Your Problem: Brilliant Content, no Traffic
As an unofficial, or newly assigned, project manager, you’ve got the answers, but no one sees them. Your genius is getting filtered down the search list with Honey Boo Boo and Marissa Mayer articles getting top spot. Despite having the know-how, you have no support.
You’re kinda like the awesome little project management blog (www.easyprojects.net/blog) with great posts that only the PMP’s mom reads.
Your Solution: Respect and Buy-in
You need buy-in: from your team and your boss, in order to really shine. You need respect. You need SEO because what you’re really lacking is effective communication. Remember the rules of social media: managing, like Twitter, should be a conversation.
Get your followers, or coworkers, to respect you by sharing their success stories. How many times have you automatically followed someone just because they retweeted one of your statuses? We like those who like us. Use the concept of reciprocal liking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocal_liking), to get your new team on your side. Remember the quote, I think Oprah said it: “We get the respect we think we deserve.” Give respect and accolades to your team and they will be more inclined to give them right back and think highly of you (and your profession) the whole way through.
Keep It Short and Sweet. Think of task delegations through the lens of Twitter. Express requests in 140 characters or less. Don’t overwhelm your team with blocks of unnecessary instructions.
Organize Your Projects. You know you’ve come across a Twitter veteran when their tweets are spiced with relevant subject hashtags that categorize everything to its proper Twitter repository. The organizational zest must be done as a project manager. Having project information organized at your fingerprints is a quick way to let people know everything is organized and under control.
Regularly Update your stakeholders. 9 times out of 10, hostility towards a project manager can be attributed to the other person’s frustrations with their own job. A lot of job stress for members of a project team comes from feeling in the dark about their own progress, and the status, health, and scheduling of the project overall. You can remove this stress, and likewise their negativity by taking every measure to make sure all involved stakeholders are fully up-to-date with project news and developments. These updates can be automated with some types of project management software.
But…Don’t trash your colleagues newsfeed with pointless info—they have enough already! The final tip lesson learnt from Twitter warns to take advice #5 in moderation. It is always good to keep people informed, but there is such thing as being over-informed. For sure keep your team in the light about what’s going on with the project, and after that abide by the one YouTube a day rule. We all love the boss who occasionally sends a fun Harlem Shake video, but just like the videos in question, they can get old fast.