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Run Your Project Like a Baby Would


Baby Girl With Computer Laptop, Mobile PhoneAnyone who has a baby or a toddler in their house knows that you can learn a lot from a youngster like this. My little girl teaches me new things every day and here are some of the best ideas I have picked up from here.

Smile a Lot

Young children don’t often do sulky and moody, do they? Sure, they’ll throw screaming fits now and then but usually all it takes is a joke or a sight of their favourite dinosaur and they are all smiles again. My daughter smiles all day long and it is something which is really contagious. If you start to smile more often in your projects then you should find that other people around you start doing the same, which has got to be a good thing. In fact, when I look back now most of the best project managers I have worked with nearly all walked around with a smile on their faces most of the time. You might think that you look more professional if you are serious and sober but you will make a better impression and feel better if you smile more.

Trust People

It is always a great concern for parents that their children might be too trusting with strangers. However, what I would like to concentrate on here are the good points about being trusting. Young kids instinctively trust people and this is wonderful to see. They don’t have any of the cynicism or fears which we grownups usually have and this is great. When it comes to being a smart project manager you clearly don’t want to put blind faith in everyone who comes along. What I mean by this point is that you should look to let the people you work with earn your trust. This is a two way process and if you are open to doing it then you should find that you both benefit from it.

Do What Feels Right

If my little girl wants to eat a piece of chalk that is on the floor she will. If she wants to paint on the back of the dog she will. Kids act so instinctively and are so natural that they simply do whatever comes into their head at the time. Of course, as a professional project manager you won’t have as much freedom as this, and you certainly shouldn’t go around painting on dogs anyway. However, I think that there is an important lesson we can learn here. Sometimes what feels right is what is right, regardless of what other people tell you or what you end up convincing yourself. Your initial instincts are often correct and the longer you work in the role the more this will be the case. If you have stopped trusting your instincts then it is time to get back to them again and see how it helps. If you still have nagging doubts then look to back up these gut feelings with hard facts as well.

Show Your Emotions

When I tell off my daughter for being naughty and painting on the dog her face falls away and she starts crying inconsolably. On a happier note, when she opens her presents on Christmas or sees her favourite TV show start a huge grin breaks out on her face. She shows exactly what she is feeling at all times and this is something which project managers learn from as well, to an extent at least. If you are in a project meeting and don’t have a clue then you don’t want to put on a puzzled face like a cartoon character who has just walked off the edge off a cliff. Neither do you want to show a stakeholder that you are fed up with them and their questions. However, there are definitely occasions when it is a very good idea to show your emotions. I would suggest that this is the case when the emotions you are feeling are good, happy ones like pride, happiness and satisfaction. If you show how you are feeling in these cases then you will probably be seen as more open and approachable and it will help you celebrate the good times as well. It can be easy to get caught up in a tough project so much that you don’t let people see when you are happy with something which has been done and this is definitely something you should think about doing more often.

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