Project managing your staff

Managing your team means keeping two main aspects on track: motivation and efficiency.

A motivated team will work hard, and a team that sees things falling into place will be driven to keep at it. Here are some basic tips from project management that will help you to keep these two things in line to manage your staff.

1. Keep the big picture in sight
When dealing with a project of any kind, it is always easier to stay motivated when you can picture the results. Having a clearly defined goal is essential in any project and it is your job to make sure that each individual on your team knows and understands why they are doing what they’re doing. Make sure that your team understands how your project fits in with the bigger picture – whether that means the effect the project will have on the work of another part of the company, or what it will mean for the world outside.

2. Listen to your staff
Depending on the project, your staff members – the ones carrying out the tasks – may understand the work in a way that you don’t. Listening to their ideas and concerns means that you can do your job better and more efficiently.

3. Use good project management software
If your company does not already have a good web-based project management tool, look into some of the various options such as Basecamp, ActiveCollab and CentralDesktop. These are invaluable for keeping a team of people focused and on track. With these tools, you can create tasks and assign them to specific people, send messages to an individual or group, take part in a discussion about a task and keep track of the project’s schedule.

4. Don’t micromanage
Once your staff know what to do and the tasks have been assigned, you’ll obviously want to be sure that things are running smoothly. But resist the urge to hover over your staff to track their progress. Micromanagement is disempowering to team members as they learn not to trust their own judgement and abilities. With someone checking up on their progress all the time, they have no responsibility for their decisions or actions, no room to take initiative and no opportunities to learn from their mistakes.

5. Acknowledge and celebrate good work
As the work progresses and tasks begin to be completed, make sure to acknowledge the hard work your staff are putting in. Every time a team member completes a significant task, take the time to congratulate them.

Anna Malczyk is a member of the academic department of GetSmarter, a high-touch online education company. For more information on the University of Cape Town Project Administration course call Anique Gilbert on tel: 021 447 7565 or visit: for more information.