All project managers are leaders, but all leaders are not project managers.
Won’t you agree?
Project managers are the people who put all the pieces together to deliver a project successfully. However, their roles aren’t limited to project management. They are the ones appointed to set up a process for a scenario where the team doesn’t need them anymore.
So that means that the job of project management is, essentially, to make employees capable of working autonomously. The responsibility is, all in all, to balance managing projects, people, and also expectations.
It is a strange position, yet it is one that can turn your team into a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
The qualities of a project manager includes various aspects of time management, task allocation, but most importantly, people management.
This ability to envision everyone’s duties beforehand is something you will find only in a project manager.
Although it is hard — keeping track of all of those people, getting results from every individual member of the team - it sounds exhausting - but good project managers manage to do it.
Have you ever thought, how does a project manager decide how everyone’s roles fit together? Well, the truth is that they know a few things about their employees and team members that no one else does. And they use this information to set up goals, objectives, and responsibilities keeping the status of resources in mind.
So, What Does a Project Manager Do?
Let's take a look into what does a good project manager do and what do they know about their employees and how they use it to get things accomplished:
1. How everyone fits into the project
A project manager knows the past, present, and future career paths of the employee. Since they are the ones assigning responsibilities, delegating tasks, considering the role an employee will play in future assignments, and understanding how to carry out efficient collaboration, they have an account of what all the employees are up to.
Hence, it won’t be wrong to state that they are the best judge of how everyone fits into a project.
Of course, they require a little help to carry out all the activities mentioned above, but it is their sense of leadership and keen vision to identify skills in people that help them figure out the perfect role for every employee. By help, I’m talking about all the advanced tools and technologies available to track employee performance, manage their tasks, and keep a record of how employees are performing.
2. What makes the employees tick
The best thing about the project management position is that you come to know which employee needs a stern hand and which one needs an incentive. If you have worked at an organization with a diverse crowd, you must have noticed the three types of employees there.
There are the ones that need constant validation and appreciation.
Then there are the ones that need the collaboration of the team as a constant factor.
Lastly, some need proper feedback at the end of every task to function better.
Good project managers know which group of people to throw into the mix. They know how to keep all three personalities together, so when one goes down, the other can pick them up.
Most importantly, they know how much they can push their employees before they break. And similarly, they learn to appreciate them and keep the passion running in the employees’ hearts by engaging them. These are the things manager should know about their employees.
3. How to motivate the team
A successful project manager knows that the key to keeping to motivation in the workplace is to know how to keep the employees engaged. There’s no getting around it.
It is the most basic skill of a project manager to keep the employees on their toes, ready for changes, and ready for improvement. In fact, at a great workplace where everyone contributes to success, you will find the employee engagement high.
We tend to use automation tools that can help them achieve employee motivation quicker and with effect. Some software platforms help you appreciate your employees, recognize the work of a team, and, consequently, give people a reason to stay.
(1) Xoxoday is a tool that will help you send automated rewards to the team members when they step up and gain a new achievement. It even helps you set up sales incentive programs as well as digital gifts. These awards are an effective way to keep the employees engaged and motivated to do their work.
(2) ProofHub is another tool that can help you keep up with the employees to give recognition and declaring achievements. It can help you keep track of all the events and milestones and help you create “announcements” to celebrate the employees’ achievements.
(3) Hi5 is another tool that can prove to be very helpful. Hi5 will keep track of the employee engagement by turning everything into statistical numbers. This makes it easier for the managers to decide who needs a nudge in the right direction and who is working adequately.
4. How to make the team more productive
Project managers have two powerful weapons to deal with dips in productivity. They know how to use the collaboration of the team and organizational tactics to the company’s favour.
But why focus on these two points for productivity?
Team collaboration: These leaders are aware that productivity is part of a chain reaction. When you are a part of a team, everyone tends to learn a lot from each other. Everyone can also successfully uplift each other and inspire others to do better.
Organizational tactics: Organizational tactics refer to the time management technique where the team’s time can be preserved using cloud storage technology. Along with helping with seamless collaboration, a storage software platform can help you save the scarce resource of time.
So what changes can you make to achieve productivity given that collaboration and organizational changes are all it takes?
Provide employees with a centralized platform where they can come together to share files and review work.
Keep updating the team on new changes always to keep them in the loop.
Use the best project management solutions to manage projects and assign tasks in one place.
Get a cloud storage platform that can help you submit, deliver, and share files with ease.
Create separate files and folders to make everything easily accessible to the team.
5. How the employee reacts to change
Another factor that is privy to project managers is how the employees will react to change. Under new leadership, there is also a new direction to work. An experienced project manager knows:
How the team is going to take in the changes,
How much time they will take to adjust to them,
How to ease the employees into the new process.
For example, if you take a process where you are trying to transition your team to the agile methodology, you will try to pick a small group of people who can learn the process and adapt to the new software platforms.
The project manager would know precisely how to find this set of versatile people who are open to learn new things and work flexibly. In turn, these employees will help their fellow team members adapt to the same methodology and tools.
6. What makes an employee cross-functional
Talking of the Agile methodology, the modern project manager needs to know about people management with the primary reason they have to build cross-functional teams.
Only a project manager will tell you the importance of a cross-functional team, and only the best one can tell you what exactly that entails. I want to give you a clue as to what that is. Here it goes:
A project manager looks for a cross-functional team by looking for people who have:
Skills pertaining to more than one sector of knowledge. For example, a front end developer who is a big part of strategy development.
The general cohesiveness of the person — How a team gets in together matters a lot when you are putting an op together.
A project manager also knows how to make people cross-functional. Here’s how:
They give people opportunities to branch out and discover new aspects of the project they would like to be a part of.
They promote participation and encourage people to chime in and provide insightful input as well as necessary feedback.
This is what makes a good manager.
So with this entire write up, it should be clear that responsibilities of a project manager don’t end just at projects. It is mostly about the people who make it all possible.
In fact, managing people is how every small project goal comes to fruition. And if you know what clicks with which employee, you're a better project manager than you think!
Let’s stop what we are doing and focus our energy and resources on team collaboration and productivity to manage projects more efficiently.
At Xoxoday, we deeply understand the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and engagement drivers of people, be it an employee, supplier, contract staff, gig or consumer. We bring simplicity and continuity to a complex, everyday problem.