By Morgan International Staff Writers
Projects should run smoothly, but invariably different forces conspire to create problems and great leaders are defined by how they react to those issues and deal with the problems.
Look for early warning signs. A crisis rarely just happens, and it is usually apparent that something is going wrong before it happens. Learn to look for the early signs that something is starting to go wrong – such as team member reports or unexpected results – and prepare a contingency plan.
Respond with quick, effective, decisions. A crisis can be made all the worse by procrastination and poor decisions. As a project manager, you are expected to be able to make quick decisions, based on your project knowledge, to prevent a crisis becoming disastrous.
Face reality. In a crisis, it can be easy to ignore the hard facts and look for the positives, but that can lose you valuable time. Learn to look at a crisis for what it is – something going badly wrong - and determine how you are going to remedy it and not learn to live with it. You can’t make realistic decisions unless you face the reality of a situation!
Manage communications effectively. Others are going to want to know about the crisis, and you need to learn how to impart that knowledge in a salient information only. Senior managers won’t want waffle – they want to know the facts and what you are going to do about it. In a serious crisis, you may need to respond to the media too, so be prepared for that.
Manage team ideas. In a crisis, your team are the people who will help you overcome it, but they need careful managing. Get them together early on and work out ideas using standard tools such as brainstorming to overcome the problem.
Encourage problem solving. As a project manager one of your main roles is to get the best out of people, and a crisis is the one place where your people have to excel. Usually, your team will look to you for direction but in this instance, you need to encourage them to find the answers within their own areas of expertise.
Be determined. As a crisis grows, others outside the team may try to take over and pull the project from you. In these cases, you need to stick to your principles and ensure that you have control. If you lose governance of the team and the situation, it could turn out much worse. Be determined and own the problem, right until its conclusion.