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This chapter is from the book

Managing a Task or Project

There is nothing more disappointing than being called into a meeting about a “new project” only to find that very little has been planned. The other disappointment is watching how disorganized the leader is, which will usually send a message to everyone about how the rest of the project is going to play out. This can also reveal that the manager does not believe in the task and has not invested time in planning it. Some managers pass this off as “I put the outline together and you guys run with it,” which is just another way to communicate that you don’t really support the task and you want the team to put it together and manage it.

Organization is critical because the team is more likely to support the task or project if there appears to be time invested in organizing the task. Teams need leadership, direction, and organization; without these fundamental components there is no power in completion or, in most cases, any completion at all. Organizations that are not efficient can usually trace this back to a lack of leadership in their management that directly affects the bottom line. Most of what the working staff understands about the professionalism of the organization comes from their perception of management.

This can also trickle down to how staff members view the organization of task assignments and projects within the department. Do not underestimate the perception of a team because most teams can get a sense of buy-in and organization from the leader very quickly in the first meeting.

Good organization is a sign that thought and time have been spent and care was taken to assess the details. The team will see this and realize how much this project means to the manager, which will drive the importance directly home to them. This is power in completing tasks or projects in your department. There has to be a driving force that steers the team, keeps them focused, assigns tasks, and holds them accountable to get things done. Teams that are left to develop the tasks on their own tend to struggle with arguments and run into delays, and team members become disinterested in the task because it doesn’t appear to be important to anyone. These are the projects that fail. This doesn’t mean that the manager always has to lead a team for them to be successful, but it means that there should be a designated leader and the entire team should know who is leading the team.

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