What Should We Do to Be Successful Women Project Managers?
This article is a Part IV of my upcoming book "Women in Project Management"
So what should we do to be successful women project managers?
First and most important is to remain feminine. Knowing that we are surrounded by men in our jobs, they would notice very fast that you are a real woman if you have traits of a fine lady:
- Ability to be joyful and positive-minded
- Devotion to the team and project
- Ability to care
- Lighten the day with warmness and sun lights
- Calm tone of talking
- Encouragement of the team, lifting up team spirit
Let's stop at the last one: "Encouragement of the team, lifting up team spirit". This is a second important thing to do and maintain daily, especially when the time of releases and hard work comes. It is crucial to be self-motivated in order to move the team to a victory and effective results. As a Christian I would encourage reading Bible, Messages and Daily Devotionals from Christian pastors. I like listening to and reading such preachers as Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Dr. Charles Stanley and his InTouch, Kenneth Copeland. These are the main ones for me and my family; you may like and listen to others. Also you may listen to other motivational audio messages, anything Godly that would make your day brighter and your spirit blossoming.
I remember the part of the message from Joyce Meyer "Living without Frustration", as it has happened 5 minutes ago, where besides multiple advices and funny interpretations she advices to "plug in back to God" to react on daily difficulties with wisdom and calm spirit, achieving goals without frustration! I recommend this preacher for all women, she is fun, wise, sometimes saying harsh things, but at the end very useful and each time I can't believe that she is 70!! Wow, she is quite a lady I must say!
It is also essential to encourage your team, praise a particular member in front of whole team and inspire on new achievements and goals. Let them feel their importance, recognize the team effort, as well as each separate team member. That way you would know what kind of task you can give to a particular developer and secondly when there is time to decide on the bonuses, you won't be looking unprofessional in the eyes of your bosses and you will make an impression of a professional who knows the team very well. Recognize worthy people, and you will not be forgotten!
Be humble. Sometimes after we get a promotion, a bigger team or a bunch of successful projects, it may be hard not to walk inside a company as if you are a snob. My advice is to remain modest, be aware of your self-worth but don't flaunt it. I'm sure that people in the company may already know about your success and great work, but it doesn't mean you need to scream about that on each corner. Let people do you compliments, we women like that don't we? :) Humility makes a person much more valuable and pretty, especially a woman. :)
In my professional practice I remember team asking me to spend some time with them before work to exercise their English (remember that I'm from a non-English speaking country). It was a half an hour or an hour long, but they were happy and the ones who were shy during working hours would participate and feel more confidence. You may choose for your own team any of discussions work related but interesting for them, not only for you. Don't push on people, let only the interested come. If they like this occupation a lot, they will spread a word and more people may come in the future. Unselfishness and generosity will unite the team and make it easy to go after you and support you in any difficult work situation.
Be fun and smile more! Just today in the morning I saw an episode from the TV show "The Middle", and one of the heroines would research on a bit silly, but interesting from her perspective subject: "Is the smile contagious?" Oh, she would start smiling normally, naturally, but she wore braces and the bigger her smile the scarier it would become: she even got a baby-girl to cry! Well ladies, this is not the smile I would like you to have to inspire your team on achieving goals. The smile should come from inside your heart, don't try to be a clown and show your white beautiful teeth to scare people, be nice and cute. You even can practice your smile in front of the mirror if you need. And as I mentioned before in this paragraph: be fun, communicative and understanding. Sometimes our work reminds me of racing on a river full of rocks. It is a complicated road to be on, but with the smile on our faces, determination and skills we can overcome all the obstacles and be victorious! Let your team have some moments of laughter, initiate it by yourself, it is cool and it's needed to relax. There is enough pressure and stress in our lives.
Previously in my story I told how great it was to hold some nice celebrations with the team. Maybe your company policy doesn't allow you to have something like that inside your office, then you might consider gathering everyone for a small break with a cake or pizza inside some kind of dining room or nearby coffee place, or even pizzeria. I think that it is nice to know about your team outside of work, their family and especially interests. Just notice their smile on the faces and lights in their eyes while talking about their hobbies and family members. If they don't want to share so much, start first and then they may become inspired and share with all the team. Be trustworthy and that will help you in your job.
And finally: keep the image of a real business lady. Be at time at your work, even if you needed to stay late the day before or needed to attend some partner party. Look fresh and awaken every day, even in winter and during our special days. Be determined and decisive; protect your team from any outside distractions. Be a leader they would like to follow and a person that would admire and rely on. We need good leaders now and at all times, be one of them! I know you can! I know we women can! :)