Nice Guys Finish First: Project Management and the Golden Rule
Everyone is familiar with the adage “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” It’s the Golden Rule of human interaction, and one that most of us try to live by on a daily basis. But many office environments are very competitive—even supposedly team-based operations like project management. Why would you go out of your way to be nice and considerate to rival project managers when you’re all competing for the same resources and fighting for the same promotions?
It Gets the Job Done Faster
In project management, everything you do affects people down the chain. Keeping good call reports and meeting notes may be a painful extra step, but it will help your team as well as anyone who needs to refer to your project long after it’s done. Being conscientious about your activities means other people won’t have to waste time cleaning up after you. Things get done faster, and people perform better.
Encourages Good Team Culture
As a project manager, you set the tone for how your team interacts with each other and with other teams. Being pleasant and considerate promotes healthy communication and fosters good team dynamics. If your team can still talk respectfully to one another under severe pressure, then your team has a good chance of getting through the crisis intact.
“Considerate” Doesn’t Mean “Pushover”
There’s one in every company. Sooner or later you’re going to encounter someone who mistakes your pleasant and considerate nature for weakness. They’re going to try to exploit you and get you to take on their share of the work, or assume responsibility for something that shouldn’t be your fault. They’re going to be rude and abrasive and try to put you down in order to raise their own standing within the organization.
Don’t let them. There’s a difference between being polite to someone and being a wimp. You’re not a wimp. You’re a project manager and a human being, and you deserve to be treated with the same courtesy you’re giving other people. Either call the offending party out on their behavior or take it to HR. But don’t just stand there and take it. Turning the other cheek will only cause you to lose face.
If you can consistently apply the Golden Rule to your workplace, you may eventually win over the respect of everyone you work with. Your teammates will respect your leadership and the example you set. Your bosses will respect your work ethic and the way you interact with other teams. Your clients will respect you for your integrity and good service. Even your rivals will have to admit, even to themselves, that you don’t play “favorites” or even “hates” when it comes to doing your work—especially if they’ve been on the receiving end of one of your considerate actions.
In project management, a reputation like that is worth its weight in gold.
Image credit, Burkazoid, Flickr