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Nov 13, 2012 by Patrick Icasas in Project Management 101 & Tools

Guest Post: Project Manager at Work: Keeping One’s Sanity Amid Stress and Pressure

Being exposed to stress is definitely normal for everybody in the workplace, especially if there is a project at hand that needs to be done within a specified period of time. Even if everybody is aware that each has a role to play in a team, experiencing stress is still inevitable. The same is true especially if you are the project manager who carries much of the pressure of getting all the work done on or before the set deadline. Since stress cannot be completely eliminated in the workplace, the only thing left for these stressed-out project managers to do is to try all means of reducing stress. Here are some such strategies:

Be an Expert in Managing Your Own Time

In this age of whirlwind technology where everybody seems to be pressured to do more with less time, it is absolutely very easy to be stressed-out. This is when project managers need to be experts at managing their time so that they will not have to suffer from too much anxiety or depression in trying to achieve work-life balance in utmost stability. It should also be known that working in a time and task driven environment warrants excellent time management skills on part of the project manager. As the PM, you have to remember that every project has to be finished within the given period of time without the need to be a slave driver of the team.

Know When to Draw the Line Between Personal and Professional Roles

Project managers are sometimes faced with the stressful task of handling several people in a team with different psychological and emotional backgrounds. The individual differences of each person in a team could pose some serious challenges on the part of every project manager. Not to mention the fact that there are times when project managers have to deal with personal issues of their subordinates while struggling to resist the urge to assume the rescuer’s role. This is the reason why as a project manager, you must carefully draw the line between personal and professional roles. If you fail to set a firm boundary between these two, you run the risk of suffering from too much stress, anxiety and depression.

Maintain the Balance Between Accountability, Autonomy and Authority.

Delegating tasks to the right people is a challenging undertaking for project managers. They need to see to it that each task will properly align to the assignee’s strenghts. He should give each person the chance to demonstrate his expertise while strictly monitoring the performance of everybody in the team. In order to lessen his vulnerability to too much pressure and tension, the PM should know how to balance authority, accountability and autonomy. These three A’s have been proven to be one of the most effective tools for project managers in reducing any work-related stress. If the project manager is very much aware about the importance of these three A’s, he will be able to carry out his team objectives without having to place unnecessary pressure on his team members. At the same time, he will also spare himself from being a victim of too much stress.

Maximize Team Meetings

During team meetings, project managers must see to it that there is enough time for brainstorming, as well as voicing each member’s work-related issues and concerns. Everybody must be given the chance to evaluate the source of work pressure and tension and find ways to lessen or resolve it. On the other hand, project managers must clearly assess the strengths of each team member while identifying roadblocks that hinder smooth cooperation and coordination among team members. Unhealthy competition among team members must not be overlooked. Most of all, it is during meetings that project managers should manifest their ability to wear both project manager and team member hats.

It is true that project managers experience too much stress in coping with unpredictable systemic changes and individual differences in a team. But, if the above-mentioned tips are being followed, chances are project managers will easily find their way out of those difficult situations. Thus, the team’s overall productivity will cease to be at risk of being adversely affected by stress, anxiety or even depression.

About the Author:
Ryan Rivera used to suffer from panic attacks for seven years. He now dedicates his life helping those who suffer from stress, anxiety, panic attacks and depression, through his writings. You can read more of his articles at Calm Clinic.

patrick-icasas
Patrick Icasas

Patrick Icasas is a former marketing project manager with 7 years of marketing and PR agency experience, managing creative projects for brands such as Nokia, Verizon Wireless, and Adobe. He now spends his time helping people make the most out of their project management software and entertaining his 5 year old daughter.

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