Before starting this article, I want to send my big appreciation to @PMAX Vietnam, where I worked, built & learned the mindsets below as well as @The Lab Team, who inspires me through their podcast & articles.
Although these are personal thoughts & working rules, I do believe most of them are crucial for any Project Managers
The first thing I learned at PMAX is: Any tasks that I agree to take, will be all under my responsibility & I do need to make sure at all chances they are completed on time with the best results.
As a project lead, your tasks are to manage your teams' tasks, projects' performance & your clients' happiness. You have to make sure every single piece of the Project happens perfectly & to do so, those pieces do not "belong" to anyone else but you! I once argued with my manager that the task wasn't mine so I didn't need to feel bad as the results of the task weren't good, she then asked me who led the project & who would take the responsibility should the project go wrong or the team cause some issues. "The leaders always do..."- I thought.
She also told me a mind trick that I am still using to assess whether I have enough ownership of the task. When you finish something (a campaign, a task, etc.), ask your own self whether you would do the same should you be able to do that again.
In fact, it's much the same as The Time Keeper in Loki series, no variants should exist to affect your timeline. You will need to be aware of all the risks, track the solving process or solve them yourself before things go wrong.
The second thing I learned is that "Teamwork makes dreams work"
Leading a Team of manifold professionals who are the expert in their own field requires effort to help the team get on well with each other & concentrate on the mutual Goal. Apart from the frequent descriptions of the Account Job, I acknowledged that we also need to manage the Team's conflicts, using the final desire results to guide everyone on the same road.
I used to stay up till the morning just to fix the report myself, thinking that it was my responsibility as I had ordered the wrong desired outcome. Even though it showed my ownership & I was happily finishing the report thus my manager wasn't due to my lack of Teamwork at that time. There are no such tasks name "Your task only", we work as a team & support is what we always need & be willing to offer. It's like Bloodsport at the end of The Suicide Squad 2, knowing how to seek support from his teammates to defeat the starfish although he used not to like the Team he was put in.
I realized this along the way working with my team. We used to finish a Proposal on Sunday & rebuild it from the start on Monday & submit it at the end of the day. Even though we won the pitch, I think I have got a more valuable lesson after seeing my teammate didn't care for her own health at that time but the proposal: It's the leader's responsibility not to let any of his/her teammates burn out. We, project managers, have the authority to protect our team against any inconsequential tasks and we, projects managers, should either keep that in mind or lose the Team.
I had a good chance to discuss how an account should work with Ms. Phuong Anh- Account Director at The Lab Saigon. She told me that any time she received a brief, balancing between the Clients' requirements, benefits & her team's abilities, learning chances always happens prior to any decision making. Then she told me about the time she got out of a 6-figure deal when it was clear it could harm her team morale. I do hope that I will have the authority to do it one day, protecting my people.
"People who put people first are the best people"- Mr. Tuân Lê- Creative Director @TheLabSaigon
(to be continued...)