On any given project you can be fairly sure that things won’t go smoothly. Add to that being expected to do more with less, dealing with setbacks and disputes, things constantly chopping and changing, increasing levels of uncertainty, push back from senior management and difficult stakeholders, unhappy and disengaged users, and it’s no wonder that there’s a build-up of tensions and anxieties amongst everyone.
A project manager’s role is very demanding and can feel pretty lonely at times. Even if you’re very resourceful and good at managing yourself, there are times when the stress of the job starts to take its toll. With all these emotional ups and downs, project-related stress can easily spill into other parts of your lives.
So how do you deal with these challenges? What we really need is to develop our Resilience.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and overcome obstacles; to keep a balance in our lives and a clear head to find effective ways to keep going. And as a project manager you not only need to maintain and develop your own resilience, but also help your teams to become more resilient (I will cover building team resilience in a future blog).
Here are 6 ways you can start building your personal resilience:
Take regular time out to recharge your batteries
When you’re under pressure and overloaded with tasks to do, resist the temptation to just do more by working longer hours. To work effectively you also need to relax and recharge your batteries. How you do this is up to you. For some people it could be going back to a hobby, for others just making sure you get enough sleep, going to the gym or pool, or simply having some fun.
Keep focused on the end goal
Step back to remind yourself what you’re aiming for and keep focused on that. It’s easy to keep thinking about all the problems and things that are not working, but this can be a serious energy drain and prevents you from putting that energy into actually getting things done.
Reconnect with why you’re doing this
Remind yourself why this is so important to you and what motivated you to follow this path in the first place. When people feel a ‘fire in their belly’ about something, obstacles won’t stop them.
Reflect and be prepared to be flexible
If you’re not getting the results you want, be flexible and try something different. Continually review what is working well and what is not. Be prepared to adapt your approach and find different options for reaching your goals.
Maintain a balanced perspective
In the bigger scheme of things work is just one aspect of your life that contributes to who you are and how enriched your life is. I know it doesn’t feel like that when you’re in the thick of it, but remember to also invest your energy in the other important areas of your life.
Collaborate with others
You don’t have to do everything yourself and carry all the burden on your shoulders. Partner with others, get yourself a mentor or coach to help guide and support you through the challenges.
What other ideas would you add to this list?