MAKING YOUR PROJECTS A SUCCESSFUL ENTERPRISE FOR ALL STAKEHOLDERS
Project Leader – Keeping Your Mental Health in Check and Delivering
Project Leader – Nowhere to hide
On a major project, many things can pose simultaneous challenges: a lack of motivation, budget issues, programme pressures, and people’s behaviour. At times, it will seem like everyone is coming to you with their challenges, and all you seem to do is to give and give. This can result in a lack of motivation, a feeling of being overwhelmed and tired, and sometimes even depression.
Several project leaders, especially the men, sometimes feel too macho to tell the truth however, most us have come to the point where we nearly lost it!
Passion – A blessing and a curse
This is where being passionate about what you do can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. It is a blessing because you will be proactively looking for ways to over- come the challenges. However, it can also be a curse when it makes you feel like you need to do it alone and do not employ the right tools, causing you to get stressed.
Tools and Strategies to keep your motivation high and mental health in check
- For you to excel at anything, you should be in a career that you are passionate about. You should be able to link your career goals to your life goals if they are different. The project you are working on should contribute to your career goals, which relate to your life goals. At times of stress on a project, you should always remind yourself of why you are doing what you are doing. That is, your focus should be on your vision for your life. This will enable you to work through stressful times and increase your motivational energy.
- Ensure that you have a support system at home. Your spouse and close family members can be a good sup- port system. At times, you just need someone on whom you can vent your frustration and display some weakness without being judged. Some friends can also be a great support structure; however, choose them wisely in this age of the rat race, where everyone wants to get ahead of everyone else.
- Be positive, and remember that nothing in this world is permanent, including difficult times. Continuously remind yourself that this challenge will pass away and that the future will be brighter. If you can have a mindset that challenges are not permanent and that their only purpose is to make us stronger and improve our skills, you will feel energised.
- Remember your past wins over other challenges in life, and draw energy and motivation from them.
- Watch motivational videos. There are many on the Internet.
- Remember that there is nothing new under the sun and that solutions to the challenges you are facing may just be a click away on the Internet.
- If you have faith, use it. I am a Christian, and I rely on prayer as my number-one stress buster.
- Religiously draw up the 5 top critical things that will make a difference in the project and focus on these. In this case, you don’t need any ‘nice-to-haves’. Focus on the critical ones, the failure of which could lead to crisis on the project.
- If you don’t already have one, find a mentor outside your organisation who is experienced in your area of work to bounce ideas off and seek advice from.
- Consider using the services of a coach; sometimes you have the answers within you, and all you need to do is to talk to someone who will coax it out of you.
- Use the gym. Sometimes you need the diversion to get you relaxed so you can perform better at work. Also, exercise produces endorphins (natural painkillers in your brain); this will reduce stress, help you to sleep better, and improve your motivational energy.
- Have some ‘me’ time during the week when you do absolutely nothing — no distractions, including phones, TV, kids, spouse, work, etc. — just 30 minutes to an hour for yourself when you do nothing. Many inventions have come from ‘me time’, and some of the answers to your challenges may present themselves during this time.
An excerpt of ‘Delivering Successful Megaprojects – Key factors and Toolkit for the Project Manager’. On Amazon, iBook, Kindle, Barnes & Noble.
The book goes into depth on the tools required to ensure the success of complex or large Infrastructure projects.
Author :Clement Kwegyir-Afful BSc MSc MAPM CEng FICE
Director of KAPM Services Limited. A specialist project management firm for complex and large infrastructure projects.
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