It can start simply enough. Maybe it’s a comment; “you better hold off on that, we may not be ready yet,” or “we’ll have to wait until we resolve these budget issues;” or something like, “I agree with you but we will have a hard time getting it approved by Joe.”
These statements may seem harmless, but when expressed over time to a person in your organization that it is extremely passionate about the project that will be delayed, they will strip that person of their passion.
Think about it. You have picked someone who has the skill, passion, drive and understanding to carry out a project. They are willing to sacrifice to see that this project is accomplished because they believe it is the right thing to do and it will improve the organization. Yet they continually run into roadblocks that appear to diminish its importance to the organization. They are told what they are doing is important but it is not supported by the action of others.
Over time these little setbacks reduce the person’s passion. Each time it happens it takes longer for them to rebound to their original level of enthusiasm and they never regain their beginning level of passion. Finally the person just says, “I’m done, nobody understands my sacrifices and they are not appreciated.”
How to prevent this from happening:
- Have complete buy in that the project is important to the organization
- Understand the difficulties that may be encountered as the project progresses and be willing to support the project leader through these difficulties
- Understand the resources necessary to support the project and agree to provide them. If you can’t provide them explain why and help find alternatives
- Periodically review the progress with the project leader and make adjustments if necessary
- Communicate the importance of the project at all levels in the organization and celebrate its successes along the way
Notice nothing was said about recognizing the project leader for his hard work. Although a leader will appreciate recognition, their joy comes from the support of the project and the improvement of the organization. Praise without support is just empty words and steals passion.