Bad Behaviors That Make Me a Better Project Manager

Portent Staff Nov 25 2014

I have learned over the years that there are a few behaviors which are normally considered impolite or taboo, but are extremely helpful when it comes to managing projects and teams and getting things done.

Saying NO:

For a Libra, saying no is not easy. I like to have balance and harmony, make people happy. So saying no is often an exercise of will power for me, but it’s essential for keeping sanity. It’s taken me many years, but saying no for the right reasons has helped to protect myself, Portent, my internal teams and clients. Sometimes it’s saying, “No, we can’t do that” but I always try to say “We can’t complete that by the time your are asking for, but we can by x date”.

When clients ask for things that don’t make sense in marketing or within their strategy, I work with the team to come up with an alternative solution to present to the client. Saying “While we can’t do the specific thing you asked, we can do this other option that is well-aligned with your strategy and should work well”.

Being Nosy:

Around the office I’ve been labeled as “Portent Dictionary” or “All-Knowing Portent Goddess”. How did I get those titles? Because I like to know as much as possible about what’s going on. I have been through MANY different types of projects in my 10+ years here and I like to know the process, the steps required, and I ask a lot of questions. I like to get my hands dirty in projects and do things like add in content, or know how to update pages so I can train clients. This means I’ve learned about the different CMS systems we’ve used, the email newsletter programs clients use and I know just enough HTML to be dangerous (often asking my Front End Developers for help when I muck something up).

Talking on the Telephone:

What? What is that? I know, in this very digital era, sometimes it is hard to pick up the phone and call someone. Not only do people rely on email and texting, but its amazing how many people shy away from the phone when it rings, as if someone is going to come through the phone and grab them. But I find it really helps clear the air and is usually an easy way to get clarity on big questions.

If a client goes silent for a few days, we exchange emails a few times around one question, I have multiple team members in various locations, or its been a few weeks since talking to a client, sometimes just the tone of their voice can clear things up if there is tension. We are so inundated with email, texts, digital noise that a phone call can be comforting.

Being a Tattletale:

No one likes a tattletale, but sometimes its essential to clear the air, get things done and find solutions. I’m not saying I sit there in meetings and then go to people’s bosses and say “So and so isn’t doing something”. I’m talking about when you have issues on a project, you then address them with those people and their boss or another member of the team and we brainstorm on the issue, work on a solution and come away a more cohesive team.

These are just a few examples of behaviors usually thought of to be bad, that are useful tools when working with projects, teams and clients. Do you have any that you’d like to share?

4 Comments

  1. As a fellow Libra, I relate to all of this. In fact, I thought you were writing about me. :-)
    Nice concise blog post, thanks.

    • Thanks Jason. I’ve found it takes too much energy to try to be something I’m not. Libra through and through, so I use it to my advantage.

  2. Guilty. I am overwhelmed because I dont say no. Like you, I have a hard time getting over that hurdle. Gotta keep on working on that one. :)

    Sandy at WorkadoApp

    • Gosh Sandy, I know how it feels. Saying No is so hard. But being overworked and frustrated is harder. I pick my battles for sure. But if you learn to use this tool, you will be much happier!

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