A happy project manager

– What are you reading, Oxana? asked Frank, a consultant on the team.

– “The Project Manager who smiled”.

– Did you write the book?

-I wish. It’s Peter Taylor’s book, I smiled in response.

-See, it could be easily about you.

What makes a project manager smile and be happy? A few things here and there. An approved budget report. A reached milestone. Or just getting to bed early at night and not waking up in the middle of the night because of the critical path…

And all of the above is possible if we are managing ourselves and our relationships wisely. The research on Emotional Intelligence – EI- shows that EI is the critical skill that happy people have in common.

From my own experience and my observations I noticed that emotionally intelligent project managers seem to have in common a few things:

1. They remember that they are in charge of the project (and it is not the other way around)

They set a reminder on their smartphone in case they forget.

2. They Let Go of Things They Can’t Control

They give their best to reach the objective. They spend the budget diligently. They persuade sponsors. They work hard. And they let go if the sponsor’s policy changes. They just take a deep breath, swear (sometimes loudly) and …. look for another sponsor.

3. They do not compare themselves to other project managers. They may steal an idea or two – as a form of flattery – but otherwise they stay clean on this record. And they know their self-worth.

4. They celebrate each milestone with the team. They love to be the Project Managers of fun.

5. They choose their shortcuts and battles wisely. They rarely fight. They negotiate a lot.

6. They keep their moral boundaries untouched. They do not compromise on quality. Their integrity is rock solid. This gives the a good night sleep.

7. They keep their desk clean and tidy, files organised and always ready to be put on display. Auditors knocking on the door? No problem. Come on in.

8. They roll their sleeves up and do the work and help others. They notice if an assistant cleaning the meeting room desks of the piles of documents needs a helping hand. Happy project managers are also mindful of generosity burn-out.

9. They smile, tell jokes and do not take themselves too seriously. After all, they know projects come and go. Relationships stay.

Did you recognise yourself in the above? You can also make your own top ten happiness tips with anything that works for you and keep it close, for a moral boost.

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