No one would argue with the fact that project management is stressful. Every day brings a new challenge—and sometimes even a crisis.
As a project manager, you’re at the center of project action and deal with the unexpected. If a difficult conversation or decision needs to happen, it’s your job to handle it. Is it any wonder that you end up bearing the brunt of project stress?
To be fair, project anxiety comes with the territory. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to manage work-induced stress.
It may not be easy to find a solution to every project woe. But you’re an expert problem-solver who thrives in times of crisis. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll find yourself less anxious and more excited about your work.
Why project management is so stressful
Being responsible for a project—but not having control over the people you rely on to get the work done—is a huge factor in project manager anxiety. But that’s not the only reason project management is stressful.
Here are a few common causes of stress in project management:
Your role isn’t generally understood or respected in your organization. You’re the frontline for project questions, issues, and complaints. A project’s handed to you with little guidance, and you have to figure out how to get it done on time and budget. You get unexpected changes in project scope, budget, or timeline. Stakeholders fail to respond or approve things on time. People are confused about their roles and responsibilities. Team members miss deadlines because they’re too bogged down with work. You go over budget and have to explain it to a stakeholder. Communication breaks down, and no one’s aligned on goals or next steps.
And the list could go on…
So let’s talk about how to manage stress when issues like these pop up, then dive into the absolute best way to reduce project stress and avoid burnout.
How to resolve project issues with less stress
It’s hard to keep stress in check when things go wrong on your projects. But as the project manager, you set the tone for everyone’s emotions. These 5 tips can help you maintain calm at every level.
1. Slow down and think it through
Project-related issues are often urgent, making you feel the need to act immediately. But you should always pause to thoroughly think through an issue first.
Responding to an issue right away doesn’t mean you’re solving the problem the right way. And let’s be real: You won’t always have all the answers (even if you think you’re on the hook for them).
So take time to consult your team and devise a plan before reacting. It’s a much more productive use of your time—as well as everyone else’s on your project.
Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself at this stage:
What’s the root cause of the problem? Who knows more about this problem than me? Who do I need to notify about the problem? What will happen if it’s not fixed within the hour/today/tomorrow/this week? What are the impacts of the problem?
Once you’ve thought these things through, you can act on the problem with some assurance you’ve identified the true issue and can propose an appropriate plan of attack.
But remember: If you’reContinue reading