project manager resilience - dealing with setbacks

Project Manager’s Resilience Training: Bouncing Back from Setbacks

Project management is challenging and exciting, but above all this, it is an incredibly fulfilling role. It is also a role that can put a project manager under considerable pressure, with stressful setbacks. This means you need to be able to handle pressure and have the resilience to cope in the long term.

Why is there stress in project management?

Project management is all about uncertainty, novelty and deadlines. This is something that goes on over a considerable period. Plus, with no two projects the same, there is a sense of uncertainty that can also add to the stress. Lots of mini deadlines, relying on others – both team members and external suppliers – means there are always a lot of factors to take into account, and the result of this is stress. When things go wrong, they can quickly go very wrong, and aside from the damage this does to the project, it can also impact a project manager’s ability to think clearly; this can potentially cause damage to their health.

Building resilience

The experts at Parallel Project Training believe that it is important to build resilience in order to make sure that you are prepared for the tough times that may come up in your project. They explain that there are three aspects to building your professional resilience:

Personal resilience

Physical and mental health are at the core of your resilience, so this is a good starting point. It is important to build up your psychological and physiological reserves. This means taking care of the following:

  • Eat well – you are what you eat, so try to choose a healthy diet in order to help your body to rebuild itself properly. This will help with your energy stores
  • Exercise – make some form of exercise a part of your routine. This might be going to the gym, but it can be as simple as a daily walk.
  • Get plenty of rest – one of the hardest things for a project manager, but you cannot give your best when you are not well rested.
  • Good relationships – for good emotional and mental health, good relationships are essential. This includes both personal and work based relationships, make sure that you take the time to work on them.

Anticipate setbacks

One thing you will learn on any project manager course like APM PMQ or PMI’s PMP is that it is essential in your project to plan for the setbacks that may occur. This is something that can help you to be more resilient. It is not about avoiding these setbacks but rather, finding ways that you can handle them. Planning is key, so identify your points of failure and this will help you to plan for ways to reduce the impact of any damaging outcomes.

Be flexible

One thing that you should consider is that even though you can plan for setbacks, you cannot plan for everything that might happen. This means that you need to adopt a degree of flexibility in the plans that you make. This will help you to be more resilient to setbacks and help you to bounce back.


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