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4 ways good project leaders create cultures of success

Moira Alexander | Feb. 24, 2016
Recognising why or how people impact overall project success is important, but determining what you can do to unlock your team’s full potential is the tricky part.

A paycheck is simply not sufficient enough incentive to project team members who go above and beyond others. Considering how much time project teams spend together, it only makes sense that most members seek a connection with project leaders and the company in general. It matters that project leaders know who the stakeholders are, what they do for the company and, more importantly, that their most valuable skill sets are being utilized correctly and awarded appropriately and fairly. Team members and other stakeholders cannot be rewarded fairly if their best contributions go unnoticed.

In the initial stages, project leaders can gain a sense to what drives and motivates individual members most by simply asking the question. Actively listen to the responses, note them, discuss reward options with company leadership, incorporate feedback and provide agreed upon relevant reward mechanisms as available throughout key stages.

2. Invest in your team members where it matters

Project leaders cannot demand team members personally invest in a project. Why? Because this type of business relationship is not that much different from any personal relationship. In order for things to work and be a success, all parties involved must value the relationship first, want to be a continued part of the relationship and freely choose to remain vested. Invest in your team and they will choose to remain invested in the project and the company. Project and business leadership, from the top down, must sincerely believe that their people are their greatest assets … and invest accordingly.

Training and development should be geared not only toward the project or company goals but also for the purpose of maximizing the development of their people’s highest-level skill sets. As an example, let’s say an employee shows strong potential in the area of project leadership. Yet their current position only involves scheduling. It’s in the company’s best interest to recognize this employee’s potential, and invest in additional training and development in that area. This offers both the employee and the company the maximum long-term benefit, as the individual can then be redeployed in a project leadership role, creating increased job satisfaction and resulting in optimal business strength and competence.

Companies can often get so busy running the day-to-day and miss seeing these as opportunities, all the while losing great people to other companies, or even their direct competitors. When highly talented and under-utilized project team members leave companies, enormous amounts of high-value intellectual capital exits with them. This can cause significant disruption, lost time, skillset and knowledge gaps and low morale during projects, not to mention missed project deadlines and goals. The cost to replace this knowledge is not always easily identified or quantified.


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