Put Away the Super Suit

 Don’t be super human – just be human.

I used to work with several project managers who were all very skilled and able to manage multi-million dollar projects.

Often the office was buzzing like a bee hive. Phones ringing; keyboards clicking; people talking (sometimes with great emotion!).

At times the work load would lead to stress, lack of patience, and tempers would flare resulting in a less than pleasant exchange between two otherwise respectful professionals.

Of course that usually led to whispers in the coffee room or over lunch, followed by everyone avoiding the stressed project manager. No one wanted to work with her and that made it impossible to keep the project on track.

Not something any project manager wants to happen to them.

This scene repeated itself again and again and I realized that certain project managers were doing it to themselves!

  • They would do everything themselves instead of asking for help.
  • They would wait for others to tell them when something was wrong instead of checking in with the team and asking questions.
  • They would struggle with understanding what the obstacles were to getting work done and the slipping of the timeline.

Leading up to the outburst was an attempt to be super human. Working 14 to 16 hour days, weekends and holidays for weeks on end.

From my vantage point I could see the pattern and the solution.

What made one project manager struggle and the others experience work-life harmony?

The secret to being that project manager everyone desires and wants to work with is not having super human powers to get things done. It’s not having that big ‘S’ on your shirt underneath the plain black suit.

The secret is being human:

  • Connecting
  • Listening
  • Understanding
  • Explaining
  • Knowing
  • Sharing
  • Taking the time to understand.

…it’s about being human

Do you measure your success by the hours you spend?