Project Management is a people business. Every deliverable, every task every key milestone you will achieve will be done with and through people. You need to learn the language of safety and the language of respect.
When I have weekly project management meetings I find that it takes time at the start of the project, but eventually I am able to develop an environment of safe critical thinking. Different people come on to the project with experiences from other projects. My job initially is to make sure I create a collaborative environment by using safe language.
Safe language involves words that focus on the issues and problems rather than who may have created them and who may have accidentally launched them. It is important to get to a point where your technical team will feel safe bringing up any concern, and problem and feel safe that you will focus on the problem and not the people.
As people, we know we’re not perfect, and we make mistakes. We also want to be involved in something that is creative, where we are involved in creating. Part of creating involves also making mistakes. However if I make a mistake I also need to feel that the environment is supportive and will understand that I am operating in the best interests and when a mistake happens that environment will be creating in figuring a better path.
There is no greater thrill on a weekly basis when an issue or problem that has occurred is raised at a project management meeting and the team around the table forgets where the problem came from and instead focuses on fixing the issue and brainstorms to find a better solution. There is a certain high that exists in the atmosphere of the room where people feel a comradeship to get over the challenge and the hurdle while sharing ideas and where no ideas is consider silly or unworthy.
Leading people involves creating this kind of atmosphere and as a project manager you have to set that tone. You do it in what you say and in your body language. This is a people business and you desperately need the input and ideas from your team members to get through the challenges and they will feel exited to contribute and try when you have created a safe environment. After all, while you are busy implementing something that is tangible and real, in the end this is a people business.