Libro Today is a good day

The project Manager needs to be in relationship with positive people

You need to perform at a consistently higher level than others. That’s the mark of a true professional. If you want to grow as a project professional you need to invest in your professional development, and I really learned that one of the key points for your professional development success is to associate with positive people. I met some negative project management colleagues during my life and the outcome of my relationship with them was “frustration and demotivation”. On the other hand I had some positive allies in my professional life that made the difference.

When I worked for a multinational company as a project manager, I started up a PMO. The professional services organization was not very convinced about the urgency of creating a PMO, so I looked for some allies. Most project management colleagues criticize the lack of support from executives, but they never proposed any action to be done. One of them thought like me, he said,”Something can be done in terms of our behavior in front of our executives.” This colleague became my first ally in the PMO implementation project effort.

Negative people are the ones who always dwell on the negative. Their sentences are contagious; they continually spew their verbal poison. In contrast, positive people promote the personal and professional growth; they are very supportive. Positive people lift your spirits and are a gift for all of us. Negative people always try to drag you down to their level. They hammer away at you with all the things you cannot do and all the things that are impossible. After listening to negative people, you feel listless and drained. I identify some people as “dream killers”. I could say that they are “energy vampires” because they suck all the positive energy out of you. Have you ever been with a negative person, and felt as if that individual were physically talking energy from you? I think we have all had that experience many times. One thing is certain: spend time with negative people and their negative messages will wear you down.

On the other hand, how do you feel when you are around people who are positive, enthusiastic and supportive? You are energized and inspired. There is something truly amazing about positive people. They seem to have a positive energy that lights up a room. When you are around them, you start to pick up their attitude and you feel as if you have added strength to vigorously pursue your own goals. Our minds tend to dwell upon whatever is repeated over and over. Unfortunately, the mind does not discriminate between messages that are good for us and those that are harmful. If you hear something often enough, you tend to believe it, and act upon it. Just as a song repeated many times will get you thinking about that song, so too will repeated thoughts about success get you thinking about success.

So if you will make sure to fill our mind with positive messages, you are going to be more positive and move forward boldly to achieve your goals. The more positive reinforcement is the better. And where can you get this positive reinforcement? Well, one way is to read motivational books. You can listen to motivational tapes, and spend lots of time with positive people. I believe that human beings are like sponges: we “soak up” whatever people around us are saying. So, if you spend time with someone who is negative, you sponge up the negatives and it affects your attitude. Of course, the reverse is also true. When you hang around positive people you soak up the positive. You feel better and perform better. So, you must join positive people.

My best practice is to assess your friendships and professional colleagues from time to time, even those you have maintained for many years. Trust me; it is not a minor issue. Those who occupy your time have a significant impact on your most priceless possession, your mind. Are you surrounding yourself with negative friends and colleagues and spending a lot of time with them in your leisure hours? If so, I am going to ask you to think about spending much less time with these people, or even no time at all with them.

I am suggesting that you limit or eliminate your involvement with some long-standing friends. You can think I am cold or uncaring. You can also think that we should try to help our negative friends and colleagues instead of dumping them. Nevertheless, I have found that in most cases, hanging around these negative friends or colleagues does not help them, and it does not help you, either. Everyone gets dragged down because most negative people don’t want to change. They just want someone to listen to their tales of woe. If you have a strong urge to spend time with negative people, ask yourself: “Why am I choosing to be with these people?” Consciously or unconsciously, you may be choosing to hold yourself back, to be less than you are capable of becoming.

By the way, I think it is wonderful to try helping someone overcome their negativity. But if you have been trying for several years, and are not getting anywhere, maybe it is time to move on.      Let me clarify one important thing. I am not making a judgment here that negative people are any less worthy than other people. I am saying there are consequences if you spend time with people who are negative. What are the consequences? You will be less happy and less successful than you could be.

One of the things that worked well for me in the projects I managed was when discussion moves to a negative subject, I resist the temptation to accuse the other person of being negative. That will usually make things even worse. Instead, gently shift the conversation to a more positive topic. Remember that I am not asking you to disown your relatives or refuse to attend family functions. This is about limiting your contacts with negative relatives so you do not get dragged down to their level.

As you increase your associations with positive people, you will feel better about yourself and have renewed energy to achieve your goals. You will become a more positive, upbeat person, the kind of person others love to be around. I used to think it was important to associate with positive people and to limit involvement with negative people. Now, I believe it is essential if you want to be a high achiever and a happy individual. So, surround yourself with positive people. They will lift you up the ladder f success.

Alfonso Bucero, MSc,PMP, PMI-RMP, PfMP, PMI Fellow

Managing Partner

BUCERO PM Consulting

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