I know someone will say they don’t feel or accept stress, but for some of us (even if we love our jobs) being a project manager can be stressful. As PM’s we are responsible for project success and team spirit, we are constantly checking the horizon for risks, are juggling stakeholder management and much more. Daily we are bombarded by e-mails, voicemails, texts, calls, the person stepping in asking for an unscheduled and urgent report, a new risk, virtual team complications and you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes we do what I refer to as……”tap dancing as fast and as hard as I can on a moving floor”!
For balance, these are 10 simple and cost effective ways I manage stress. Consider trying one or more:
I’m hoping one or more of these things will be something you can try. If you have other cost-effective stress reducers, please consider posting them below. I can’t be the only PM with a stressful workload!
Have you ever asked someone to shadow you while facilitating meetings to provide feedback - with the goal to measure and improve your PM performance? It’s not for the faint of heart, but it is an excellent way to grow. Some ideas:
Self-improvement: Several years ago I created a Meeting Mentoring Observation Worksheet and asked several people to score me during a meeting. I try to do this at least 1x year. The scoring is charted on a scale: 1 (poor) – 5 (exceptional) and I asked mentors to score me on some interesting things like:
Self-development: Grow, grow, grow – I try to stretch myself. For example – volunteering to speak at PMI chapter meetings or seminars. It’s a great way to grow and develop personally while sharing insights with others. Volunteering is a wonderful way to increase self-development. In November, I will be speaking at the PMO Symposium 2019 in Denver, Colorado. Scary, but an excellent self-development opportunity!
Self-control: Ever get hot under the collar during a meeting or take something said in a meeting personally? I’m trying to learn to subdue my emotions in meetings – not easy for a “Type-A” personality, but there is actually power and strength in this. It’s allows one to step back, enabling longer pauses, waiting for responses, not spitting out the answers so quickly but allowing others to find the right answer before stepping back into the conversation. Listening more. Instead of sharing my perspective, I’ve been trying to spend more time asking others about their thoughts and viewpoints. If someone uses a statement that bubbles up an emotion, I try to spend an extra moment pondering it from their vantage point before responding. This takes self-control and is another excellent aspect of growth and development.
How do you encourage self-improvement, self-development and self-control? I’m anxious to hear what works for you!
Here in North America, spring is in full bloom – it is beautiful! The season is abundant with new life and renewed energy. It made me wonder if I have a spring in my step? The Cambridge English dictionary describes a spring in our step as walking energetically in a way that shows happiness or confidence.
As a project manager – is that what I portray?
The most effective project managers are the ones who use a spring in their step to inspire others and create cohesive team environments where ideas and differing perspectives can flourish. Some report one of the top qualities in an excellent employee is to have a positive and cheerful attitude. Portraying confidence and a positive, contagious energy when communicating with teams, stakeholders and leaders is important to success. These attributes create influencers. Often people we come into contact with, are struggling under various kinds of personal and professional stressors – when we step into their day will our interactions wash over them like how a spring day feels?
Making personal choices to be healthier is another way to enhance the spring in our step. Getting enough sleep, making healthy food choices, drinking plenty of water each day, finding ways to fit in exercise and controlling stress can up our game. When we have a spring in our step, we are approachable, inspired, energetic and action-oriented and all these things can spring our careers to new heights.
Please share something you do to create a spring in your step. Your ideas or suggestions can be helpful for us all!
LET'S EMBRACE CHANGE
Categories: Professional Development
As my grandmother was losing her battle with cancer, I took her hand and asked her what I needed to know about life before she left me. We were close and I felt afraid about stepping into the future without her. Nearly daily I hear her response in my thoughts. She replied “life is all about how you handle change, Lori. Handle it well, handle it with grace”. She modeled a long full life of gracefully embracing changes like moving from Russia to America, learning a new language, starting new jobs, rearing two active boys and more. During her lifetime she witnessed incredible advances in travel, technology and even learned to embrace her terminal condition with grace.
I consider her advice in my professional life whenever a trusted coworker leaves, corporate announces a new merger or restructuring, my boss asks me to lead a new technology or upgrade I am unfamiliar with or a million other changes come my way. Being willing to gracefully embrace change can be a challenge – especially in these times when change comes at us with such ferocity.
As project managers, we each face enormous change – sometimes it can feel like we are living in a pressure cooker! Below are some change management tips I use in both my personal and professional life:
Consider embracing and handling change well because as my grandmother so wisely offered – life is all about HOW you handle change – do it with grace. On a final note my grandmother’s name was Grace.