Stop and consider the words you’ve spoken recently to your project teams. How would you characterize them? Are you speaking words that bring clarity, courage, and confidence to your teams? Are you asking the right questions to keep your team focused?
Never forget – you are working with human beings who need clarity and who have emotional needs. Your words matter. Before meeting one-on-one with team members or as a team, THINK about your words. Consistently use the phrases and questions below:
- Here’s our goals. Leaders cast the vision and clarify the goals of projects. Odds are, some of your team members will lose sight of the project’s goals. It’s not enough to tell them once; remind them periodically. Motivate your team members by connecting their work to the objectives; help them see the importance of their activities.
- Here’s our plans. The book of Proverbs says, “The plans of the diligent leads to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Soloman highlights two keys to success – working hard and planning. Your teams need to know where they are, where they are going, and how they are going to get there. How do you plan to communicate? What’s next on the project schedule? How will the team identify, analyze, document, and validate requirements?
- What are our greatest risks? Projects are never static; every new day brings change. Murphy is lurking at the next corner. Wise project managers consistently look at the things that hinder and the things that help their teams. Are the probability and impact of upcoming events changing? Do you need to modify the responses?
- What’s going well? Whether you are facilitating daily Scrum meetings or weekly project meetings, great project managers ask – what’s going well? Why? Well, we want to recognize the good things and do more of it. We desire to learn and emulate the good things in one another’s projects.
- What’s NOT going well? Another great review question is – what’s not going well? Are the third party resources failing to deliver? Are you having complications with interfaces between software applications? Are outside stakeholders causing problems?
- How can I serve you better? Pete Hoekstra said, “Real leadership is leaders recognizing that they serve the people they lead.” Great project managers serve their sponsors, team members, and internal and external customers. Look for ways to serve and enhance the lives of others.
- Tell me what I don’t know. In every project, there are unknown risks. As you speak with stakeholders, ask individuals, groups, and organizations to help you see the things are not so obvious. What are your blind spots?
- Thank you. See a team member doing a great job? Thank them. Look them in the eye; clearly state your gratitude and why their work matters. Do you need other ways to say thanks? Here are 10 Simple Ways to Thank Your Project Team.
If you could read your team’s emotional fuel gauge, what would it read today? Full tank or almost empty? Even the best teams need refueling.
Your encouraging words can recharge your teams to perform at their highest capacity. Breath life into your teams and watch for great results!