Project Practitioners > Sustaining your hope as a Project Manager

Sustaining your hope as a Project Manager

By Alfonso Bucero

We all are conscious about the realities of today's economy and the not very clear forecasts for the days ahead. However you need to sustain hope as a project manager. Sustaining hope through such times will be a hard task, even for natural optimists, but believe me "sustaining hope is possible". What steps can we take to rise to challenge and to help those who lead to rise and hope, as well?

1. Do some exercise: Are you feeling depressed? please don't sit around moaning. The only thing that you may get is being further depressed. Do some physical exercise. For instance I like swimming early in the morning to charge my batteries. Choose an exercise that matches with your needs. Sometimes just walking fast for one hour is more than enough. When I am training people on project management I'm doing a 5 minutes break every hour, and I suggest the attendees doing some physical exercise with me. Nobody is obliged to do it, but finally everybody do it.

2. Write your vision of the future: Your team members expect from you as a leader to be forward-looking. Leaders need to have a sense of direction and a positive ideal image of tomorrow's common good. Positive and unique mental images of the future are also necessary for sustaining hope. We need to star out into the unknown and imagine the possibilities. It means visualizing the future in detail. It means that we need to be creative bout options. You, as a project manager, share your vision with your team. In that way you will increase your credibility.

3. Set goals and make a plan: Hopeful and optimistic people have goals and plans for how they will achieve them. As a professional take your vision statement, break it down into projects, set goals for each, and make a plan to achieve them.

4. Choose flexible optimism: I believe that the best leaders are flexible optimists. Credible leaders pay attention to both pessimists and optimists choosing optimism appropriately. Some ideas are:

  • If you are in an achievement situation use optimism
  • If you are concerned about how you will feel, use optimism
  • If the situation is taking more time than expected and your physical health is an issue, use optimism
  • If you want to lead, if you want to inspire others, use optimism
  • If your goal is to counsel others whose future is dim, do not use optimism initially
  • If your goal is to plan for a risky and uncertain future, do not use optimism 

5. Suffer first: If you are planning a change that will cause hardship to others, think about what you can do to share visibly in those hardships or what you might do to deny some of the privileges of rank. Be the first to accept some hardship yourself.

6. Nurture optimism and passion: Enthusiasm is contagious. Moods are social viruses, and you can catch a bad one if you do not pay attention enough. You can also catch a good mood. Try to smile for a while every day. Watch a funny movie. A good laugh improves blood circulation in your body, increases oxygen in the blood and makes you feel good.

7. Go visiting: Make a commitment to start your day by chatting with your team members. Stop by your colleagues' offices or cubicles, and ask them how they are doing. With each team member, find out something you did not know before. Be honest.

8. Dispute your negative beliefs: You have to learn to dispute your negative explanations of the bad things that happen to you. You need to view adversity as a temporary hurdle, and you will become energized.

9. Reclarify your values: Clarify your personal values. This process also contributes to the ability to bounce back after a failure. Credible leaders clarify their own values, help others clarify theirs, and affirm shared values

We, as project managers, as leaders need to sustain our hope now more than ever. You may choose the way in which you deal with your team members. Be positive and sustain your hope. You will be contagious...

Today is a good day to start. Go ahead!

Alfonso Bucero, MSc, PMP, PMI-RMP, PMI Fellow

Managing Partner

BUCERO PM Consulting



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