Project management is known as a very stressful job. The success or failure of a project and, inevitably, the happiness of the customer and all stakeholders involved a ride on the shoulders of the project manager. This can be a massive burden to bare. The project manager is accountable for the project's outcome, and many project managers are not comfortable reaching out when they feel that the stress may be too much for them to handle. High-stress levels can harm your health, behavior, attitude, success, and family (Teak, 2015). Of course, not all stress is bad, but if managing a project begins to hurt a project manager's job, health, and life, there is help.
If you are feeling negative stress and anxiety, here are some suggestions that may assist you in dealing with those feelings.
If you need additional help beyond what a friend or colleague can provide, reach out to your doctor, and write down your concerns and questions. Give the doctor a call or make an appointment to talk. Often, the doctor will give great advice, and they may think of a simple solution that you have not thought of yet.
The NIMH webpage contains helpful fact sheets, resources, and advice.
Look at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/
Can Stress Be Used for Good?
Figure 1: Yerkes-Dodson (Nickerson, 2021)
Good stress can propel you. Many believe people need a certain amount of stress or pressure to push themselves to do their best work. Stress can activate us and be a catalyst for our reactions. This can many times produce a hard-working reply. Stress creates a response from our body that causes us to want to act. For example, the Yerkes-Dodson Law postulates that stress can improve performance. The law states that an optimal level of stress creates peak performance and that it dies down on either side of that level, creating a U-shaped curve (Nickerson, 2021). Now, this law has its critics that cite the poor design of the original experiment in 1908. However, it does appear that a certain amount of stress or a deadline does propel us out of procrastination and into motion.
There may be a middle ground that we each need to find. For the author, Peter Taylor, it is productive laziness. Productive laziness is a concept written about by Taylor. His book The Lazy Project Manager encourages project managers to breathe normally. There are risk strategies in place to mitigate and control problems if a crisis arises within a project. The risk should be minimized as well as its effects and damages. He encourages all project managers to breathe normally. These are the key messages taken from The Lazy Project Manager by Peter Taylor.
1. Stay calm in a crisis.
2. Plan for a crisis.
3. Filter the issues.
6. Focus on what is essential.
Nickerson, C. (2021, Nov 15). Yerkes-Dodson Law. Simply Psychology. www.simplypsychology.org/what-is-the-yerkes-dodson-law.html
Taylor, P. (2009). The lazy project manager: the art of productive laziness. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress.
Teak, O. (2015)." Managing Stress in Project Management - Project Management Articles" https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/managing-stress-in-project-management/.
Along For the Ride
Some may not remember Ziggy, a cartoon character that peeked over the fence and had a long nose. His nose was hanging over the wall, and this image became a popular car sticker. Everywhere you drove, Ziggy was riding along. People could go all night and work extremely hard to get somewhere; there’s Ziggy. He had ridden along and gotten there too. If you clean the car, Ziggy gets an excellent clean vehicle. It did not matter what you did; Ziggy rode along. He gained the same fun and the same fame. He was there just hanging out, peeking over the fence, literally along for the ride. Have you ever known an employee or teammate that seemed to be along for the ride? Can you get this person motivated? You and your team worked hard for your successes while some ride along, and they achieve the win when they have done very little. Project management is a difficult job, and many projects fail. The successful performance of the team is necessary. The project manager's job is to get everyone on the team on board, moving in the same direction, and motivated toward successfully completing the project goal. The following are ten recommendations for getting team members like Ziggy motivated.
“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”
Why Be Authentic
Authentic leadership should be clearly defined to understand the relationship between it and the inclusion and understanding of various individuals and their differences. Authentic leadership leads to an increase in equity, inclusion, and belonging. Authenticity supports diversity and inspires others to live and lead authentically. A genuine leader can lead others successfully by demonstrating trust and organizational commitment. Authentic leadership combined with cultural intelligence can allow a leader to adjust to various cultures positively while maintaining their values and beliefs.
In his book True North, Bill George explains that your internal compass is your true north. Your true north is what is most important, what you value, and what you are passionate about. Character and your compass are what guide you. He urges leaders not to get off track and listen to their inner voice, even if it is difficult. Authenticity leads to inclusion. When leaders are authentic, they encourage others to be. This leads to acceptance and understanding.
Authentic leadership encourages inclusion, diversity, equity, passion, and value while removing barriers. Authentic leaders conduct themselves in harmony with their values. They encourage diverse viewpoints and build networks of collaboration. Authenticity occurs when actions and behaviors match internal values. It involves activities that are true to yourself.
I had the privilege to hear Gloria Burgess describes leadership as jazz. You must know where you came from to know where you are going. Our story constantly changes and becomes part of a deeper understanding of personal authenticity (George & Sims, 2007). Authentic leadership leads to a more positive culture of trust.
Leaders must understand and maintain a balance between remaining true to individual values while being open to understanding the values of another. Bill George urges that you align with your true north, and only then can they lead authentically. Authentic leadership is impossible with a fake version of a leader at the helm. The most effective leaders are leaders committed to who they are and what they value. They are committed to being their authentic self. In a global environment, leaders must be encouraged to find their passion and inspire others while being their authentic selves.
Authenticity allows an individual to be who they are at all levels. It will enable people to respect their individuality and uniqueness. Everyone has gifts and something special to offer. With leaders that model an acceptance of identity in charge, people will feel free to perform at their best.
George, B., & Sims, P. (2007). True north: Discover your authentic leadership. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass/John Wiley & Sons.
Authentic Leadership- Be Yourself
Bill George explains that your true north is an internal compass that guides you. It is led by what is most important, what you value, and what you are passionate about. You can’t be like someone else. You must be like yourself, be a star and follow your passion.
You are the right leader. Being you makes you a very knowledgeable, respected, and influential leader. Who knows you and your passion better than you? Imagine if we all acted as ourselves and were accepted for our authentic selves. When you are different, masking becomes a way of life for many to fit in to be accepted. However, no one is flawed. No one is a sickness to be cured or a disorder to be fixed. Everyone is unique and authentic.
As I try to be who I am, I am at times awkward and animated, yet I lead, and people follow. I seek to be my authentic self. I include others, and they include me. Authenticity leads to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and acceptance. When we are authentic, we encourage others to be themselves. Everyone being authentic leads to acceptance of all and the inclusion of anyone.
I want to encourage everyone to find their passion or purpose and inspire others to join your cause. Bring people together around a shared vision and encourage them to lead and further empower them to step up and lead authentically true to themselves and their plan.
Recommendations for improved authenticity.
Leadership is a journey, and you are the tour guide.
George, William W. True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2007.
The Kaizen Method is a method that allows organizations to make small changes over time aimed at improvement. These changes will either lead to improvement or be discarded. The process will enable organizations to improve over time continuously. The continuous improvement model provides an organization with a simple method to facilitate change and encourage flexibility. Learning about Kaizen and other continuous improvement practices can assist an organization in making positive organizational changes aimed at continuous improvement.
Small Changes Build Great Things
A series of small things do great things when brought together. The initial premise is based on a quote by Vincent van Gogh about The Starry Night in 1889. Small changes or steps can be taken to accomplish great things. Kaizen is based on small changes over time that lead to improvement. Kaizen could assist an organization in making positive organizational changes aimed at continuous improvement.
Kaizen was developed in the manufacturing sector to lower defects, eliminate waste, boost productivity, encourage worker purpose and accountability, and promote innovation (Daniel, 2021). Kaizen encourages reduced waste, improvement toward perfection, and remaining committed to the process. Here are a few examples of Successful Kaizen implementations within significant organizations. Toyota used Kaizen and made the concept well known. Lockheed Martin. Used the method to reduce manufacturing costs and delivery time. Ford Motor Company CEO used Kaizen to execute one of the most famous corporate turnarounds (Daniel, 2021).
Kaizen can be used for more than lean manufacturing, although that typically comes to mind when discussing kaizen methodology. Kaizen is a straightforward process that can be used in many aspects of our own lives. To improve and become a better version of ourselves every day, you must actively seek improvement. Matthew McConaughey states that his hero is himself in ten years in his Oscar speech. He acknowledges the expectation that he will be a better version of himself ten years from now. He recognizes his desire for continuous improvement over time. He wants to make sure that he is a better version of himself tomorrow than today. This is a goal we should all seek.
Figure 1: Kaizen as a means of continuous improvement over time,
The practice of kaizen can assist you in improving by 1% per day and leading to continued success (Kelly, 2021). Kaizen can be applied in personal life by embracing the spirit of continuous improvement. Kaizen can be a life motto for growth-minded individuals that want to improve, and it may become a way of life. Kaizen is the practice of improving yourself through small, incremental, daily actions and forming habits that help you succeed.
Kaizen requires that one live for each moment, prioritize productivity, and encourage upward progress through tiny steps. Kaizen's focus on gradual improvement can create a gentler approach to change. Drastic changes aimed at achieving immediate positive results are often abandoned.
Ongoing positive changes can reap significant improvements. (Daniel, 2021). Kaizen can assist an organization and individuals seeking positive changes aimed at continuous improvement over time if they are willing to change, evolve, and remain flexible. Implementing small changes over time and keeping the differences that produce positive results while discarding the others leads to long-term success.
The Kaizen Method is a method that allows individuals to make small changes over time aimed at improvement. These changes will either lead to improvement or be discarded. The process will enable organizations and individuals to improve continuously. The ability to continuously improve over time allows people to survive and thrive. The continuous improvement model provides individuals with a simple method to enable change and encourage flexibility.