Thought of the week

Work will expand to fill the time available for its completion, Parkinson’s Law.


Practice leadership

Brilliant, simple words of wisdom. We can all be leaders. It’s the small things.

Simon Sinek


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 Bob Taylor’s book, i smiled in response.

-See, it could be easily about you.

A smiling project manager is a happy one. What makes a project manager happy? A few things here and there. An approved budget report. A reached milestone. Or just getting to bed early at night. A visit to a spa also counts. Time for some manicure would be nice…

Throughout years i found out that there is an inner thing that makes us glow. The research on Emotional Intelligence – EI- shows that EI is the critical skill that happy people have in common.

Here is my list of what happy project managers have in common:

1. The Remember That They Are In Charge of the Project and Their Own Happiness

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

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

They try 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. Looking at the pay grade also helps to let go ;).

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. And all we need is fun and love!

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 .

PR at work

One of the most sensible pieces of advice I read recently:

“Most of us are so focused on just getting our work done that we forget to be our own advocates, to remind our managers and organizations of what a great job we’re doing. Put your accomplishments back on the boss’s radar — without bragging — by sending a brief email update. Nothing fancy; a sentence or two is fine. “Just wanted to let you know that xyz project continues to go well, the client was pleased with our draft, and next steps are to finalize the numbers, which we will have for your review by Thursday.” The update doesn’t have to contain any real news. But in sending it, you’ll look competent, communicative, and on top of things — all attributes of a top performer.”

As a working parent it is easy to get absorbed in the doing mode and rely on an objective (to the extent possible) effort validation. At home, you get a happy baby smile. At work, the validation might get delayed or forgotten. So, instead of just waiting or hoping that this will happen, we can be our own PR managers and show-cast our work humbly yet firmly. 

If you’d like to read more