Are Happy Project Managers More Productive?

Are Happy Project Managers More Productive?


Lynda Bourne, DPM, PMP


Fact: A happy person is more creative, productive and engaged than an unhappy person.


As project managers and leaders, we are responsible for optimizing our teams' productivity. One effective way for you and your team to achieve great productivity is to create a happy workplace.


Creating a positive environment is your responsibility as a leader. As the saying goes, "There are no bad soldiers under a good general." 


In his book, Full Engagement, Brian Tracy outlines a simple series of actions any leader can take to encourage positive contributions from everyone. These ideas are not new. Aristotle believed the underlying motive for every human action was the desire to be happy.


The golden rule for creating happiness is to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." But this requires a number of specific actions.


First, avoid destructive criticism. Destructive criticism sparks feelings of fear, rejection, anger and defensiveness. Leaders should resolve never to criticize, attack, insult or diminish another person -- including team members. Instead, look for good in everything that happens and learn to view problems as opportunities.


Second, stop complaining. When you complain about something you become a victim of the situation, diminish your self-confidence and open yourself to feeling inadequate. You hurt yourself much more than the target of your complaints.


Third, remove fear from the workplace. If you want people to be innovative and creative there has to be room for experimentation and failure. It is impossible to improve without risking failure. Remember: Fear of failure can prevent improvement.


Finally, do not condemn anyone for any reason. This can irreparably damage relationships.


Here are some positive actions you can take to develop a happy and productive project team:


Smile when you see someone for the first time each day.

Ask people how they're feeling. A genuine interest in your team members goes a long way.

Listen attentively to others and be polite and courteous.

Keep your team informed.

Design work assignments so that each team member can be successful. Then acknowledge their successes.