​5 HR management tips to improve team performance

Successful projects rely on human interaction. Human resources management tips can optimize your team's performance.

Tips for how to become a project manager In this intro for TechRepublic's how to become a project manager cheat sheet, Alison DeNisco Rayome discusses what the job entails, why it's in demand, skills needed, interview questions, and more.

The success of company projects depends heavily on human interaction, interest, and productivity, and that means that project managers must play a role as human resource professionals, to some extent.

Here are five human resource management tips to help you improve team performance.

SEE: Digital transformation: A guide for CXOs (Tech Pro Research)

1. Become a servant leader

If you aren't already, you must become a servant leader. Your role is not just to lead people and projects, but also to put the needs of the project, stakeholders, and your team ahead of your own. Leading means knowing when to lead, when to follow, sharing power and credit for work, and helping your team be at their best. After all, if they are at their best, by default, so are you.

A strong leader ensures that teams can feel confident that they are backing and buying into someone who is fair and who cares about doing the right thing all the time. They need to know that you have their back, you are reliable, trustworthy, and can lead by example. These are unmistakable human needs, and it's your job to be at your best if you expect your team to be productive and perform well.

2. Help team members see the value of their contributions

If each member of your team is not completely clear about what their role is and how their contributions will impact the project, it will be difficult for them to perform at their peak. It isn't enough to just assign tasks and assume that they know what needs to be done if they don't fully know the impact to the deliverables or project.

Your role is to guide progress through communication and interaction. Often people may be reluctant to share their uncertainties in front of a group or even individually with project managers for fear of looking incapable or incompetent. It's your job to help team members feel that they can come to you with any questions without judgment. Make sure that you are approachable and available when they need you.

SEE: Quick glossary: Project management (Tech Pro Research)

3. Encourage chatter for fun—not just work

There's often more work in a day than there are work hours. Because of this stress levels can be off-the-charts. Set aside time to have some fun with your team. Teams that can relax, have fun, and get to know each other will work better together. They will see one another with some humanity and understanding and are far more likely to help each other meet goals than teams that just work together. Help your team get to know each other and grow together.

4. Don't stifle growth

Leading people means enabling growth. Strong leaders don't stifle the growth of their team members, they mentor them and encourage them to employ their highest-level skills and knowledge. Avoid being a micro-manager and glory hound. There's often plenty of credit and accolades to be shared. It's human nature to want to grow and expand your career; this holds true for all of your team members. Encourage them to share their best ideas and when they do, reward them by giving them the credit they deserve. If you stifle their growth, it's a guarantee you will stifle the performance and productivity of your entire team, as well as yourself. Personal and professional growth is a good thing for all parties involved.

5. Be honest and part of the solution

It isn't easy to share unfavorable news with your team members, but trust is built on honesty. Whenever possible, be completely honest with team members about their performance and the impact on the team—especially when it is not up-to-par. Feedback must be given in a way that is respectful, timely, and with solutions.

Allow team members to share their feedback and input into solutions, as well. A two-way dialog is a must. It is not helpful to simply tell someone that they are not performing without giving them time and opportunity to rectify things in a positive manner.

Also see

istock-905964110hifive.jpg
Image: AntonioGuillem, Getty Images/iStockphoto

By Moira Alexander

Moira Alexander is the Founder of PMWorld 360 Magazine and Lead-Her-Ship Group, and a project management and digital workplace columnist for various publications. Moira has 20+ years in business (IS&T) and project management for small to large busine...