CHAPTER 27 BUILD AND CARE FOR THE TEAM

I’ve mentioned that I got my first project management role because I loved to build relationships and bring people together. I seldom worked alone and I firmly believed in the power of ‘we’ over ‘I’. Knowing no better, I maintained this approach in my new role, hoping it would keep working, and it did. Indeed, it turned out that working together was key to our success.

The best part of project management isn’t completing the project, it’s knowing you brought a team of people together and collectively created something special. Teamwork is often taken for granted in project management. Organisations believe they can throw together a bunch of people in a project team and that magic will happen.

Sometimes it does, but only if the person leading the team invests the time and effort in understanding each personality and uses techniques and skills to create an environment that supports different ways of working. Such project managers don’t think of their needs when doing this, they think of the collective.

There must be a shared vision, collective ownership and responsibility for progress, and a willingness to challenge each other to be better. The team will then think and talk in terms of ‘we’. In this they’ll be led by you. If you think and talk in terms of ‘you’, you are distancing yourself from the collective and passing responsibility across to the person you’re addressing, who may feel they will be blamed if the task doesn’t go as planned. ...

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