Project management concept - napkin doodle

I have had the great fortune of overseeing several different projects in the course of my career. I did the best I knew how to early on, but I didn’t always get the results I wanted. I wanted to learn from my mistakes, and I tried new and different techniques in my quest for a better way. Three key themes emerged during this time—three tried-and-true techniques that work across the board. Implementing them isn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be, and it’s probably not as difficult you’re making it, either.

Always Plan, But Stay Flexible

To complete your project in the most efficient manner, it is vital that you stay organized. Today’s advanced technology has provided us with several resources to help you keep on top of everything, including several Web-based applications at your disposal. Investigate and try out software and apps that are specifically designed to help you with planning, scheduling, and resource management. Take advantage of what technology can do for you.

That said, keep an open mind. If something comes up, roll with it. Some of the best solutions and results have arisen during unplanned situations.

Good Communication is a Must

It doesn’t matter how great the ideas are in your brain if you can’t communicate them effectively to your team. Make sure your employees understand exactly what their instructions are. One tactic to ensure this is to ask them to repeat your instructions back to you, so you can clear up any miscommunication.

In turn, you need to listen to your team. If they have feedback or ideas to present to you, hear them out. The fact is, you don’t know when or from whom the next great idea will arise, and feedback can make you better at your job. If you’re open to ideas from others, you will gain respect from your team. Above all, keep a positive attitude at work.

Stay Humble

Yes, you are in charge, and you have undoubtedly earned your position. Remember, you still need to stay humble. Remain teachable. If you develop a super-sized ego, the people working for you will not respect you. On the contrary, if you demonstrate humility while still being a positive, assertive leader, the people on your team will respect and work hard for you.

In addition, always give credit where credit is due. According to, when team members feel a sense of ownership on a project, they are more likely to work harder and give you the results you need. Always provide proper recognition when someone’s idea or hard work helps a project. Doing so is not only the right, humble thing to do, it serves as a motivational tool, too.

Your team is watching you, and they want to learn from you. Demonstrate what true leadership in project management looks like.

Thomas Duke is the digital director and owner of an SEO startup. He lives in New Mexico.