Everyone’s got some stress in their lives.
When at work, though, it’s best for your productivity – not to mention your health – if you do what you can to reduce the amount of stress you feel over the course of a day. When you’re put in charge of a project with a team, client, and looming deadline, managing your stress levels may be the last thing on your mind. It should be, though.
As a project manager, not only is it your job to manage your own stress levels, but you’ll need to keep an eye on your team to ensure that their relationship with your client remains healthy.
There are a number of steps you can take if you want to keep stress out of your office space and away from the bulk of your team members:
Time management is essential to ensuring a project goes as smoothly as possible.
There’s more to keeping track of the time, though, than scheduling meetings and workdays with your client. Take a peek at a time management app and see if you can schedule breaks for yourself and for your team.
Concentrated periods of time spent away from your work, either as a group or on your own, will do more for you all than keep your stress levels lower.
Taking a break from a project can allow you to return to that project with fresh eyes. Sometimes, time away from your work is exactly what you need to break through a project block. Time management rools or shared calendars, then, to establish deliberate break times for every member of your team.
Team meetings are also a great time to assess your peers’ state of mind and make moves, either in terms of assignments or day-to-day responsibilities, that will lessen the stress of your project.
Establish weekly meetings with the members of your team in advance. Discuss with them, specifically, if you all want to involve the client in these meetings or if you want a separate weekly meeting for discussions with the client.
Once these specifics are established and the dates are set, make sure you, as the project manager, take advantage of this time and check in with your team members. Discuss everyone’s needs, in terms of the project, and assess progress as well as obstacles that may have arisen. Together, you can find ways to overcome these difficulties and offer support for each other’s work over the course of a project.
In order to keep everyone’s stress levels under control, you’ll also need to consider your client.
Keeping your client happy – genuinely happy, too, not just quiet with reassurances – will make your work at the office much easier.
One of the best ways to cheer your client and ensure that your relationship is as stress-free as possible is to communicate with them frequently. This doesn’t mean that you need to be sending emails out at 3am every day or reaching out on weekends. All relationships, after all, benefit from boundaries.
However, do what you can to keep your client up to date on your team’s project progress:
This way, everyone’s ideas, grievances, and potential obstacles can be shared. This communication will make the client feel like part of the team. It will also allow your own peers to better express any difficulties they may be having with the project to the person who initiated it.
The social dynamics maystill elicit a different sort of stress. But without any communication at all, a project is sure to falter.
Finally, remember that you’re not working on your project alone.
Even if you’re the only person assigned to a project, you have supervisors and peers you can reach out to when your own stress levels start to interfere with your work. When you’re managing a team, it can feel like all of the responsibilities for peoples’ individual states rests on your shoulders.
You should feel able to reach out to your team members and ask for help, whether with your own work-related stress or with managing the stress of others. Project teams work because they allow for coworkers to have each other’s backs. Don’t feel the need to be overly-independent while working on a project, even if you feel it will reduce everyone’s stress levels.
By taking on the bulk of a project on your own, you may, in fact, make the work more stressful for everyone else.
Stress while at work is inevitable.
However, as a project manager, you can work with your team in order to reduce the amount of stress you all feel over the course of an assignment. Reach out when you need to and remember: everyone on your team, including your client, is human.
Humans are allowed to be messy and stressed once in a while. All you have to do is seek out the right solution.
Cover image via Stocksnap.io