Project Managers have a large responsibility and obligation to a group endeavor. From planning and monitoring to the completion of the project, they are the captains of the creative and collaborative ship. Their overall responsibilities include steering the team, turning visions into realities, staying within specific budgets and timeframes and, of course, implementing conflict resolution strategies along the way.
An effective project manager is organized, has strong communication skills, is always pragmatic and is consistently evolving their tactics and management methods. For those of you who are currently project managers in (and even out) of the salon, here are a few reminders to help you effectively lead your team and project.
#1 – Define The Project’s Scope: Before you lay down the foundation and details of the project at hand, remember that it is important you have a clear and well-defined understanding of what has been assigned because you have to be able to explain the project to your team members. Better yet, write down what the project is and then create a mission statement for it. Let’s have you do that first and foremost.
#2 – Strengths & Weaknesses: In our 5 Ways To Remain Calm article, we shared how vitality it is for everyone to be cognizant of the fact that we’re all different. We have different ways of learning, various methods of communicating and diverse personalities. You, as a project manager, must be all knowing and aware of these traits in addition to clearly defining what countless strengths and weaknesses each team member brings to the table. Before you go full throttle on the project, have a clear understanding of what all these are. Since it is a sizable amount of information to manage, you could create team members profiles (on paper or digitally) and list all their strengths and weaknesses and distinctions.
#3 – Ways of Communicating: I just mentioned the importance of having a clear understanding of everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, but more importantly, you should also be well-versed in the art of communication. As we explained in our What’s Your Communication Type article, there are four different types of communicators. How those different styles intersect with each other plays a significant role in the collaboration process, and a project manager must be able to communicate with each individual type to keep the project free of conflict and pitfalls.
#4 – Short & Long-Term Goals: It’s a no-brainer that one of your responsibilities as a project manager is to develop short and long-term goals for the project and for the individual team members. BUT (yes, the caps lock is necessary) before you create and assign any goals for anyone else, craft some short and long-term benchmarks and milestones for yourself. From having a “budget created by deadline” to having a “project mission statement clearly defined,” it’s crucial you stay on track and develop tactics in doing so.
#5 – Escape Routes & Risks: Always, always have a plan B before you go full steam ahead on the project. A great project manager is an exceptional problem solver so identify areas where hiccups may potentially occur within the project. For instance, let’s say the salon team is conducting an outdoor photo shoot with six models. What are you going to do if it rains that day? What happens when a model doesn’t show up and never responds to your texts or voicemails? Or, what happens if you come down with insane food poisoning day of? Who is your second in command? Each one of these “what ifs” can become realities. It’s like having an escape route while driving. We were all taught by our driver’s ed teachers to have one in case a dangerous road situation presents itself.
#6 – Gossip & Drama: According to psychologists, the act of schadenfreude is used as a social tool to bond. Your job as a project manager is to nip the gossip in the bud before it begins and before it takes your team members down the rabbit hole of drama disasters. This is also a reminder for you to not be a gossiper. Your level of respect and credibility is quickly damaged the moment you partake and contribute to the negativity.
#7 – Physical & Digital Tools: Dry erase boards, markers, easel pads and Sharpies are must-havs during the collaboration and project execution process, but sometimes the team isn’t all in one place all of the time. Take the project into the digital world. An online program and app I recommend is Trello. It’s free and it’s actually something we use on a daily basis here at Industrie. It keeps all our moving parts and pieces organized and it is an effective way of communicating what’s needed and where things are at on small and large projects. Honestly, it’s what keeps Justine and me sane these days!
#8 – Stress Techniques: Here at Industrie, we’re big on keeping stress in check and manageable. If we don’t, then I turn into a big pile of crazy and Justine becomes this tiny frog. Create a stress-free environment for the team. Teach them various ways to decompress and have everyone understand the importance of communicating and sharing when they’re feeling pressured. And more importantly, you, yes, you project manager, you should also know how to handle stress and how it affects the body and mind because once you spin out of control it will only create a domino effect.
#10 – Be A Great Leader: Want to know what makes a great leader a great leader? They drop their ego and never use their title in a negative fashion. They also accept failure and learn from it, have compassion for others and are a positive role model. Here are a few more tips on how to be (and become) a great leader.
#11 – Learning Curves: Be visual with explanation and remember that people learn and digest information differently. Some are visual learners, some are written learners, and some are both. It’s called having good project architecture. While you’re at it, become more familiar with Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
Now go forth oh mighty project manager and conquer that project. And remember this: Everyone has a plan: until they get punched in the face.
I didn’t come up with that.
Mike Tyson did.
So my advice to you is…don’t get punched in the face.
- Define your project’s scope.
- Define strengths and weaknesses.
- Know how to effectively communicate.
- Develop short and long-term goals for yourself.
- Plan escape routes for potential pitfalls.
- Remind yourself the dangers in gossip.
- Utilize digital project management tools.
- Teach others how to handle stress.
- Drop your ego.
- Recognize all learning types.