Proactivity - The Fundamental Requirement
Answer these two questions:
- Who is responsible for how you spend your workday?
- Who selected the boss(es) for whom you work?
The answer to both questions is YOU.
Until you grasp this, you'll struggle to manage your project manager effectively. You must understand that you are in control – always.
Your PM has a bearing on your professional path, but you have chosen to walk that path. You can’t change your manager or anyone else for that matter, but you can change yourself, and that brings tremendous opportunity. Never did a moment pass when you were without the power to alter your destiny. If you aren't choosing to manage your PM, then you're letting them manage you.
Own your path, own your situation.
Only then, can you own your day and manage your manager.
ROR (Return on Relationships)
Well-built relationships are invaluable. Your relationship with your manager (and your whole team actually) unpins your capacity to produce.
The keystone of a strong professional relationship is trust. Your manager must have unwavering faith that you'll do the job you are supposed, by the law and your contract, to do. Do you know your contractual and legal responsibilities? Do you invest in relationships?
Concerning your relationship with your PM, think "win/win." I.e., ensure you both benefit.
With every alternative (win/lose, lose/win, lose/lose), at least one of you suffers, and trust deteriorates. Get in the habit of thinking, "what do they need from me?" And know the answer better than they do. If you don't know, ask!
Half of a win/win relationship is getting what you want, so know what this is. If you wish to experience a new role, then say so. Manage your situation. Remember to think win/win, though. Who might fill your current position?
PMs Are Human
Never presume your PM has everything under control or that they know everything. They don't. Your PM was promoted to their position because they possess many excellent qualities. Perfection will never be one of them.
PMs are human, and humans are imperfect. Support your PM as you would hope to be supported when you reach their level. Learn their weaknesses and find ways to compliment them. Become invaluable to them, earn their trust, and your influence over your work will grow.
Above all, always remember that you can influence how your PM manages you. Complaining is futile; be proactive.
After a decade of construction management work around the world, George Lintern, Aff.M.ASCE, founded The Whole Engineer, a company geared toward improving civil engineers and the construction industry as a whole, through masterclass programs and mastermind groups.