Here’s a Concept – Take an Infantile Approach to Project Management

Sometimes in research for my blog posts I get stopped by a headline that makes me want tor read more. Such as this one from the CobaltPM blog that proclaimed, “Run Your Project Like a Baby Would.”

Initially that reminded me of the old joke, “I slept like a baby last night. I wet my bed and cried because I was hungry.” (Nowhere did I say it was a good joke.) Then it got me thinking more of “Everything I Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”

The CobaltPM blog says you should do these four things to be better a better project manager:

Smile a Lot
Trust People
Do What Feels Right
Show Your Emotions
The simple advice of “Smile a lot” is a good one. As the writer observes, “If you start to smile more often in your projects then you should find that other people around you start doing the same, which has got to be a good thing.”

Smiling can even have benefits beyond the office. According to Dr. Mark Stibich, the longevity expert at, smiling helps the immune system work better. He says, “When you smile, immune function improves possibly because you are more relaxed. Prevent the flu and colds by smiling.” A smile has to be less painful than a flu shot (at least for most people) and it helps make your work relationships healthier.

Trusting people is going to take, well, a lot of trust on your part if that’s not your personality. It can be difficult to suddenly put your faith in others. It’s not as ingrain for adults as it is for infants. The CobaltPM blog says, “… you should look to let the people you work with earn your trust. This is a two-way process and if you are open to doing it then you should find that you both benefit from it.”

There is a caveat, though. Let’s say someone does something and loses your trust. Kids are good at giving second chances. Be like a kid in this regard but trust your adult instincts. has a good article on why trust is important in the workplace. Among its findings, teams that trust each other get better results than teams that don’t, according to the HCI study, Building Trust 2013: Workforce Trends Defining High Performance, which was based on a survey of business professionals. also found employees will stay at an organization longer and be more engaged when there is a high degree of trust. “These high trust organizations earn loyalty from all stakeholders including employees, customers, suppliers, distributors, and investors,” the article said.

“Do what feels right” can make some managers nervous. After all, what feels right to one employee might feel dangerously wrong to an organization. The CobaltPM blog says, “If you have stopped trusting your instincts then it is time to get back to them again and see how it helps. If you still have nagging doubts then look to back up these gut feelings with hard facts as well.”

Dr. Cara Baker, writing at The Huffington Post, says, “Very simply put: We do not trust our instincts. We forget we are hard-wired for well-being and success.” Remember to document when your intuition was right instead of focusing on when it was wrong, she adds. That will make you trust your instinct more.

Finally, the last piece of advice is “Show your emotions.” Now, you may not want to stamp your feet and cry if things don’t go your way. But, the CobaltPM blog says, do show your emotions when things are going right. “It can be easy to get caught up in a tough project so much that you don’t let people see when you are happy with something which has been done and this is definitely something you should think about doing more often,” the blog says.

So, the next time you get upset by a screaming baby on a plane, just remember this. Those little wailers are actually bastions of good advice that could help your project management career go more smoothly.

Comments are closed.