Project Managers Matter

Second Installment: Project Managers affect the outcome of the project

1st Installment: Thoughts on Project Management  3rd Installment: The New Science of Who Sits Where at Work

Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.”  – Dale Carnegie  (American writer and lecturer 1888-1955)

3274344_blogProject Managers affect employee morale, which affects the outcome of the project

 The most effective project managers focus their staff’s effort on the overall goal and purpose of the project not just a short term goal.  Getting shared ownership of the project’s goals is the Project Manager’s most important job.  The more the staff understands and believes that their contribution is important to attaining the goals of the project, the more enthusiasm and persistence that the staff will have for a success.

 A sure death knell to any project is to have a staff with no overall picture of what’s going on or no sense of being important to the planned accomplishment. As a rule of thumb, either communicate the overall project objectives and how the staff contributes to the project’s goal, or give your employees a good reason they shouldn’t know (i.e., national defense, competition, etc.). Never decide to not communicate at all. This will result in lower motivation.

herzbergAn employee’s job satisfaction and dissatisfaction is greatly influenced by their Project Manager. In the book “The Motivation to Work[1] Frederick Herzberg proposed a two-dimensional model of factors affecting people’s attitudes about work: motivator factors (that result in job satisfaction) and hygiene factors (that can lead to job dissatifcation). He concluded that factors that create job dissatisfaction and the factors that create job satisfaction are not the same.

 Job dissatisfaction is caused by factors such as company policy, supervision, interpersonal relations, working conditions, and salary.  Their absence can create job dissatisfaction, but their presence does not motivate or create satisfactionand  produce only short-term changes in performance. These factors describe a person’s relationship to the environment in which she or he performs the job

More important are factors that result in long-term positive effects in job performance.  The five factors are; Achievement, Recognition, The work itself, Responsibility and AdvancementThese factors are the elements that enriched a person’s job. These factors describe what a person does and are mostly under the direct control of the project manager.

 These five factors are all related to how employees see themselves in a project or organization.

  • Will they be able to achieve something?
  • Can they grow in their field?
  • Is the work interesting?
  • Are they recognized for good work?
  • Will this project lead to advancement?

 A good Project Manager can take the dullest projects and make them attractive but how they communicate the projects purposes.   Participating in a company-wide inventory can be interesting, if the importance of knowing what a company owns is stressed.

For a Project Manager to have positive job satisfaction factors requires a high level of regard for those on the project and an understanding and appreciation of what is important to them.

two_way_591This can be accomplished only with authentic two-way communication among all levels of your organization. Communicate the project goals. Post management level schedules where employees can see them. Do walk-abouts to talk about the project goals. Team leaders should continuously communicate to members of each team how their work fits into the overall project.

I’ll be back in a few week with more.  Remember that the cleanliness of theory is no match for the clutter of reality.

 Best Regards,
Michael Hughes

1st Installment: Thoughts on Project Management  3rd Installment: The New Science of Who Sits Where at Work

[1] Herzberg, F., Mausner, B., & Snyderman, B. B. (1959). The Motivation to Work (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.  A good summary of this work can be found at


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