From the title of the article, you might be wondering ‘What lessons could children possibly offer project managers?’ Actually, children’s behavior can teach project managers quite a few things. These lessons can help the manager do his/her job more efficiently.
Have you ever noticed the way children behave and interact with others on a day-to-day basis? Next time, whenever you get an opportunity to make an observation, pay close attention and you might end up discovering some golden strategies that could very well be used in the field of project management.
Children love talking to people and sharing stories and experiences. Essentially, they like communicating, and that too with utmost joy and enthusiasm. By observing a child, a project manager can also learn how to communicate confidently with his/her team. Don’t allow team meetings to become dreary, long and useless. Instead, try and keep everyone engaged by distributing information, collecting feedback and so on. Also update the stakeholders constantly and keep an agenda for every team meeting.
Don’t we all envy the fearlessness with which children live their lives? They aren’t scared to fall and get hurt or get bitten by their over-excited pet. Similarly, even if a proactive manager has a complete risk management plan in place, he/she cannot foresee all future problems. And there are some obstacles bound to come in the way of the project. When things are out of control, you simply need to become a child and surrender. Learn from your mistakes and try and improve upon them the next time.
Children have a natural ability to negotiate with their parents. Project managers can definitely learn something from this. Negotiation is a big part of project management and project managers need to constantly negotiate the utilization of resources, schedules, budgets and so on. Successful negotiation by a project manager leaves all parties satisfied.
Working in teams
If there is one thing that children absolutely love, it’s working in teams. They get a chance to interact, share and learn from one another and also end up having fun in the process. A project manager also needs to acquire team building skills that come so naturally to children. In the midst of long and stressful projects, the team needs to stay motivated. For this, the project manager could take everyone out for drinks/dinner or interact with team members personally and lighten up the atmosphere every once in a while.