Be The Best Project Manager Your Company Has Ever Seen

It’s easy to feel like a bit of an imposter sometimes. You look around and see all-stars cruising through their job managing a team of 25 as you get overwhelmed with a team half the size that just isn’t getting it’s work done.

We’ve spent hundreds of hours studying teams as they work together toward common goals, and over time we’ve collected a large library of insights about what makes one team work and another fail.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the project manager. Period.

Quite simply: If you can’t excel at your job, they can’t excel at theirs.

However, few people realize that the only thing holding you back isn’t talent or luck: You just need a few tricks of the trade to even the playing field.

Here’s how you can become the best project manager your company has ever seen.

1: Nurture Ownership

Odds are, you don’t know everything your team knows.  You can’t know how hard they’re working or if they really did the best they could. What are you to do? Nurture ownership. The only thing you can do to ensure alignment across your team (as well as a “whatever it takes” spirit) is to build emotional commitment within your team.

How do you do this? Give them authority, give them praise, and let them contribute things that only they could. When Steve Jobs first released the Macintosh, he had his entire team sign the inside so that they knew part of them lived within every computer sold. By making your team a part of the project, you ensure that everybody feels each failure and victory as their own. As soon as this happens, you’ll start seeing people work much harder to avoid failures and to achieve victories.

2: Facilitate Communication

The second thing your team needs to access to what’s going on. As cool as “remote working” is, it’s crucial that your team stays on the same page and that everybody knows how things are going.

By keeping people in the loop, they can spot things that affect them and stay aware of how their work is contributing to the larger mission. If you miss a sales goal and the entire company knows it, you can fight together to compensate for the damage.

3: Measure, Reflect, & Optimize All Projects

Go into every single project asking “How can I make this run better than any project I’ve managed?” Leave every single project asking, “What could I have done differently?” When you ask these questions, you’re much more aware of lessons as they emerge. Not only this, but you are training yourself to think critically about how you can do better and acting on this in a systematic way.

Routine, organic growth will help your team (as well your career).

4: Use Great Tools

Obviously. But we think the tools somebody uses define them. I don’t care how talented you are, you’ll never mow the lawn with a pair of scissors. As a project manager, you need a world-class lawn mower (so to speak) to get the job down.

We personally recommend ClickUp due to their rich feature set and design, though we recommend you check a few other options as well. Asana and Basecamp are welcome alternatives that are time-tested. Whatever you end up using, make sure you are organized and disciplined about logging tasks. As you work to improve your skills, you’ll combine hundreds of little lessons that you pick up along the way. Regardless of how long that takes, focusing on these four fundamentals which accelerate your growth and help you become a better project manager.

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