4.9. Solutions Fast Track
220.127.116.11. Today's Management Environment
- With the vast amount of information we have to process every day, managers are no longer accepted as "the experts."
- Corporate culture has changed and people no longer have jobs for life; individuals no longer assume they'll always have only one job or career in their lifetimes.
- Technology has changed the way we work. The lone employee in a rural area must be as connected as employees at the corporate headquarters.
- A successful manager must help remove roadblocks to high performance and help foster commitment and initiative.
18.104.22.168. What People Really Want
- There are numerous factors that impact job satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
- Factors that create job dissatisfaction if not attended to are often referred to as "hygiene" or "housekeeping" issues. These include salary, company policies, and the work environment. If these are lacking, employees may become dissatisfied. If these are adequate, they will not create job satisfaction.
- Factors that create an environment that fosters job satisfaction include meaningful work, the opportunity for achievement and advancement, and recognition for a job well done.
- As a project manager, you often lack the ability to address the "housekeeping" issues, especially salary, but you can have an enormous impact on the job satisfaction factors.
22.214.171.124. Work Styles and the Project Team
- There are numerous systems that define work and personality traits. Myers-Briggs and DiSC are two of the more widely known systems.
- Everyone has a work style that comes naturally to them. When they can work primarily within that style, they are more productive, generate higher quality, and typically experience less stress.
- As a project manager, learning to recognize and leverage various work styles will make your job easier. Relying on individuals' strengths and minimizing their weaknesses creates the strongest possible team.
- When putting together your project team, try to include various work styles on the team and then utilize those strengths for the good of the team.
- Create an environment that accepts and respects various work styles. Each style has its strengths and potential pitfalls, so no one style is "good" or "bad".
126.96.36.199. Culture Matters
- If you're managing people from other cultures or other countries, you'll need to learn about those other cultures in order to effectively manage those people.
- Following some basic guidelines such as learning to pronounce difficult, foreign names and understanding the values and norms of another culture will show respect, the most important factor in managing cross-cultural teams.
- Make sure all members of the team understand terminology, jargon, and expectations. English may be a second language for other team members and culture, countries, and distance all can add to confusion.
- Communicate clearly and frequently. Make sure all members of the team are involved and are participating.
- Feedback is a normal and required part of any team management process, but providing negative feedback in a multicultural environment can be tricky. Make sure you understand the culture and the most appropriate way to provide feedback before proceeding so you don't accidentally cause embarrassment or worse.
- Multigenerational teams also can be challenging because older and younger workers typically have different work styles.
- Learn to respect different work styles and leverage their best traits. Pair or team up workers of differing styles so they can learn to respect and understand each other's strengths and can offset each other's weaknesses.
- Don't confuse cultural issues for performance issues, but don't let cultural issues prevent you from addressing performance issues. Learn to address the work and the expectations in culturally appropriate ways, but do address performance issues.
188.8.131.52. Men, Women and Technology
- Women are underrepresented in science and technology fields.
- If you manage a team that includes women, create an environment that takes advantage of everyone's skills and talents equally.
- Be aware of cross-cultural issues related to gender when managing an international team.
184.108.40.206. Developing High Performance Teams
- High performance teams start with the right mix of people. Make sure you have the right people for the project and rearrange jobs, titles, and tasks to leverage everyone's best talents.
- Clearly defining the project, the project's objectives, the team's mission, and the roles and responsibilities of each team member is critical to a high performance team. People work more effectively when they clearly understand the project's objectives and their role within the team.
- Make sure your team meetings are well run. Use meeting agendas, keep conversations on topic, and avoid wasting people's time discussing or rehashing prior deliverables or events (unless needed). Provide opportunities for informal talk or socializing outside of the formal confines of the team meeting.
- Utilize any and all appropriate technology to enhance team communication and collaboration. This is especially critical when your project team is geographically dispersed.