Posted 14 June 2005 - 09:29 AM
Even in a company climate that fosters team work, it can be difficult to get a team to function in a collective and co-operative spirit. As a IT project manager, I have found that finding and praising each member's unique strengths a good way to emphasize that the team is stronger than each member just because each member brings unique perspectives and strengths into a project.
As a project manager, your main goal must be to organize all the project's activities, monitor its progress, and shuffle resources to critical areas if needed. To do that, you have to build an atmosphere where asking for help and support if one member has a problem is met with affirmative responses. Project communication can be a simple as a quick "how is it going today" to a formalised approach with members updating Project software.
Most Project Managers are not specialist (for example I never code, and only know enough Cobal to understand what programmers need and how they need it), and a good thing is to make sure the other members of the team understand that. Sometimes you have to be a cheerleader, always a source of information, and always ready to listen carefully to what is being said (and not said) at meetings.
That a member is afraid of attending a meeting seems to indicate that the whole concept of teamwork has been supplanted by a climate of fear and finger-pointing that will make any sort of co-operation difficult to achieve. It will be your primary task to change that.
As the leader of the team, you have to be able to lean on the other's expertise and freely admit that you can't know everything in the kind of detail older, more experienced members do, and that you look to them to help you understand whatever technical subjects you don't.
An attitude of what is important is getting the project done on schedule and on budget, and that THAT is what the team needs to discuss at a status meeting is important. Having an atmosphere of openness where members can talk through problems will go a long way towards improving morale.
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should be silent.