Thoughts of a Project Manager about "Behaviour challenge as Project Manager"
The people working in the Surabaya factory mostly (more than 75 %) are Generation X and their lowest education is Junior High School. On the other hand, the people of the Jakarta factory mostly (more than 55 %) are Generation Y or Millennials and around 5 % are Generation Z, their lowest education is diploma.
Those demographic conditions affect their behaviour towards changes – especially changes which are related to new technology. Well, but it is not only the workers. I found out that the management also has hardship on changing their behaviour. Starting from the Top until Shop Floor Manager.
And how about the managers? There are three types of managers:
2. Micromanagement manager
3. Supportive manager
When we started the test stages, I found out that for the workers from Surabaya it was extremely hard to change their behaviour. What should I do then? I show empathy and listen to their pain points. They were not technology savvy; it is hard for them. Especially the female workers who are older than 50 years. Did you know, even when these women want to withdrawal money from an ATM, they tend to bring their children, who are more technology savvy or even their grandchildren to help them. Sometimes, they ask their younger colleagues for help.
From their pain points, I found out that they still worry about the system. They said: “What if the RFID is not working? What if the system will read me as absent and I will lose my daily benefit, such as meals, shift incentive and overtime?” They missed that the system uses negative input. Then, we do run test for 3 months, so that they have the experience by themself to see how the system is working. They also give us some feedback to improve the system.
Patience is the key…
But, how to deal with type 1 and type 2 managers? The key is to be more assertive as seen below:
- Servant leadership
- Open and honest communication
- Listen actively
- Agree to disagree
- Take a problem-solving approach to conflict
- Be patient and stay calm
Based on this experience for me to be a successful project manager I have to show empathy to users, find a “human-centred” solution for their pain points, use a servant leadership mindset, be patient and stay calm.
Abraham Elias is IAPM Senior Official for the Metropolitan Area Jakarta and a Certified Senior Project Manager (IAPM) as well as a Certified Agile Project Manager (IAPM). He is a graduate Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and Master of Management from Trisakti University - Jakarta, Indonesia. He has eighteen years of experience in Operational Excellence. Furthermore, Abraham has expertise in Agile Transformation in various organisations and has successfully led major projects to improve productivity and quality.