Emotional connection is crucial for project managers

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 By Jack Nevison

Everyone knows that a productive workplace depends in no small part on a competent leader. But sometimes, project managers forget just how much influence they have on their team. They need to keep in mind that an emotional connection is crucial.

Trevor Crow, a therapist and contributor for HR.BLR.com, made this argument in a recent post. Citing a current Harvard Business School study, Crow claimed that employees want to feel that their contributions are valuable to a team or a company, and that this factor tends to influence their productivity more than promotions or raises do.

"How do companies show that they value employee input?" Crow wrote. "One place to start is by simply acknowledging workers in the workplace. When asked, employees responded that most of all they wanted their presence to be noticed and appreciated."

Of course, there is a right way and a wrong way to recognize your team members, and not everyone is naturally gifted with the right instincts. Studies suggest that every person develops an "attachment style" based on how they were raised as a child. Crow mentions four styles: secure, anxious, avoidant and chaotic. Here's how they work:

  • Secure: People with this attachment style tend to be the best at staying calm in tense situations. That's because they are comfortable in their position and are capable of sharing power with others.
  • Anxious: These people are the opposite. They tend to micromanage projects and are less than forthcoming when it comes to sharing information. They are not comfortable in their position and fear losing it.
  • Avoidant: Though these types of people may in fact be highly successful, they still have a hard time connecting on an emotional level with those who work for them. As a result, their team may be less productive, even if the "avoidant" manager has excellent organizational skills.
  • Chaotic: These are the kinds of people who employees like to avoid. Their moods are mercurial and hard for employees to predict, meaning that emotional connection is all but impossible.

Obviously, the secure style is to be preferred for most project managers. And New Leaf Project Management provides a variety of ways to show you how to keep yourself and your teams on an even keel. With our online project management training, free white papers and QPM games, it's easy to earn PDU credits for PMP recertification while you enhance your own secure management style.

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