Of all the resources at your disposal as a Project Manager the single most important one is human resources and so, being excellent at human resources management is an absolute must if you want to be a successful PM. Project environments are constantly changing and so having a team around you that can react to and cope with change is essential. Having said that, is it realistic to expect to be able to employ a team that is already 100% experienced in reacting to and coping with change? The answer to that is probably not, which is where being an excellent human resources Project Manager comes in, so that you can lead your team(s) through those challenging changes.
Keeping staff on-side.
We could use all sorts of terms here, motivation, leadership, empathy etc, but they all come down to your ability as a PM to keep your staff happy, contented and, basically, on your side. The first rule regarding this and managing human resources is to make Health and Safety a priority. If staff don’t feel safe and secure in their work, they’ll never be prepared to go that extra mile if a problem arises or they need to alter their work patterns/schedules to cope with a change to the project. Speaking of contentment, never forget the absolute need to communicate with your team(s) regularly and coherently. In doing that, don’t just issue instructions – but take the time to enquire how they’re coping with their work, do they have any concerns or even suggestions for improving anything? Most staff will respond positively to increase responsibility, so don’t be afraid to delegate responsibility for commissioning procurements or work rotas to other staff – intrinsic rewards can be every bit as powerful as extrinsic rewards when it comes to motivating staff.
Leading by example.
Regarding delegating deciusion making, of course your leadership capabilities and style will set the standard for those you ask to do things on your behalf. So, clearly demonstrating the importance of managing all the project variables, time/costs etc, will be key to ensuring that the appropriate levels of planning and control are followed by all. Finally here, don’t forget to set review periods for how well the project is progressing. If the project is found to be behind schedule or running over budget then you may need to apply a different set of human resources management skills – challenging the staff found to be underperforming through your monitoring and recording, without uneccessarily antagonizing staff who have been performing well.