As you progress in your profession as a project manager or otherwise you are going to continue to be concerned with the details. Quickly overwhelmed, you will look to prioritize, delegate and focus. Each and every one of these details can be critical to your project, so a great start is finding the right team who will share your detailed focus. Leaving which details for yourself, specifically?
A good project manager can prioritize with the best of ‘em. Leaving the inconsequential details to chance and picking their battles strategically. A good project manager can assemble a team of skilled, detail oriented team members and communicate clearly to them what is and is not critical, following up on the details as necessary.
A great project manager and a great leader can not only complete all of the above, but has the intuitive (or learned) ability to focus their precious time on the right little things. What those things are will be unique to each PM and each project, but here is a guide summarized from experiences I have recently had with great leaders who knew where to focus on the right little things.
– Everyone’s “stuff” is really important… to them: I know that you are super busy. And super important. Guess what, everybody feels the same way. If you show a genuine interest and some empathy for your team members’ “stuff” it will go farther than 10 meetings and action items. What may seem small to you is huge to them because it’s theirs. If you care, it means the world.
– Keep the Box clear but large: Make sure your team members have crystal clear definitions of where they must end up and by when, but don’t constrain them as to how they must get there. They will appreciate the autonomy and just may impress you in the process!
– All it takes is ONE: One gesture, one comment, one bad day, one really genuine email. Good or bad, your actions as a PM and a leader are impactful. Recognize and respect this gift given by your team members through your every word and action. Your choices will be remembered for a long time to come and this is where the greatest opportunity for a PM / Leader lies
Don’t get caught up in the (wrong) little things. Your time is valuable. Before you get sidetracked by the technical details or scope, schedule, or budget, take a deep breath and examine your priorities. It takes much less effort than you think if you are doing it right.
Think about the most impactful yet simple act that a PM / Leader you have been involved with has made which buzzed in your mind for the rest of the day…good or bad… and share it with us (and how it shaped the rest of that day for you!).