Why you shouldn’t do it all as a project manager

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The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in technical SEO and Content Marketing.

One thing you will quickly learn with any project manager course is that the temptation to do it all and be a superhero is real. However, it is something you should certainly not be doing.

All too many project managers take on too much of the project work themselves and don’t delegate nearly enough of the necessary tasks resulting in heavy workloads, no downtime and eventually project burnout. Don’t be that project manager. Here are just some of the things you shouldn’t be doing on your project and what you can do to avoid them.

Don’t create distance

The best project managers find a way to connect with the members of their team. If you are trying to do everything, then you will undoubtedly come across as invincible and this will have the effect of pushing your team away and making them feel rather redundant in their roles. Flaws are vulnerabilities that give us connections and help lessen the distance.

A good ice breaker will go a long way to helping find connections within your team. Common points of interest, shared hobbies, and even favourite destinations all help to show a more human side which will help to lessen the distance between the role of the project manager and that of the team member.

Don’t set a counterproductive example

Team members, particularly those who are new to a team, will often look to their team leader as an example of what they should be doing and how they should act. When the image you project is one of being “superhuman,” your team members will think this is how they need to be as well.

This can result in unhealthy behaviours occurring within the team, things like people logging in on holiday to “just check a few emails”, and staying much later than they should so they are not the first team member to leave the office at the end of the day. Or, not taking any risks because they don’t want to be the one who causes failure.

Create a healthy environment, and this will result in better productivity from your team members, who will be happier in their roles.

Don’t exhaust yourself

Pretending to be invincible is not just counter-productive. It can also be exhausting. As a leader, you also need support within the team you are a part of the team as well as the leader, and too much pressure can really take its toll both mentally and physically. Sharing with your team that you are struggling to find a solution to an issue is human and can help to elicit a wide range of suggestions that you might not have considered. This can also be a good way of reducing your exhaustion, allowing you a little time to step back from any issues.

Don’t pretend to be perfect

Nobody is truly perfect so there is no point in pretending to be perfect. Team members will appreciate someone who is authentic at the helm. Remember what you have learnt during your APM PMQ training, or any other qualification and apply it to your role but don’t try to do everything.

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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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