Advances in Project Management Series
By Fred Voskoboynikov
People live and act in various groups and are influenced by various formal and informal leaders: parents, teachers, managers, coaches, commanders, and so on. Their personal traits and qualities, their behavior and life style as the dominant parties, have a strong impact on people’s mentality and play a significant role in their personal development. Many factors influence on the psychological environment in the workplace, but the strongest one comes from the manager. The way the manager relates to subordinates affects the whole nature of business communication and largely determines the group morals and the psychological atmosphere in the working environment. If the manager does not project a positive image it automatically transmits into the relations between the team members. The working environment becomes stressful, people become less inclined to cooperate with each other, they feel uncomfortable and morally vulnerable. That’s why managers should do everything possible to create an optimal psychological atmosphere in their respective production units.
Most of the attention in any organization is directed towards achieving financial goals, i.e. towards profitability. This is vital for the organization and well understood. However particularly for this reason people’s interests are not often on the priority list in organizations’ affairs. If that is the case, sooner or later such an approach will backfire and prevent the organization from functioning successfully in the long run. Hence, directing all possible efforts toward creating a positive psychological environment in the workplace is of a significant importance. To create such an environment without basic knowledge of psychology does not seem possible. To know people’s individual characteristics, their ability to work in a group environment as well as their values, goals and desires is just as necessary for managers as to possess the technical knowledge in the chosen field of activity. People are filled with thoughts and ideas and they want to experience satisfaction from their implementation. To achieve the desired objectives and maintain people satisfaction in the work place one must be prepared to think of them in human terms (Voskoboynikov, 2017).
Regardless of the type of organization and the field of activity general managerial functions are similar. In fact, management functions are considered to be universal. Managers plan and organize, coordinate and control, make decisions and handle physical, informational and financial resources, create and communicate, motivate and reward, and so on. However, all of this comes down to managing people. A bank manager does not manage safes and accounts, a construction manager does not manage construction equipment and materials, a ship captain does not hold the steering wheel himself but nevertheless gets to the desired destination by managing the ship’s crew.
In this brief article, we will consider some important factors of the psychological nature which should be taken into account in managers’ work with people.
Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower in UK and by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.
About the Author
Northern California, USA
Fred Voskoboynikov worked as an industrial psychologist in a civil engineering firm and taught ergonomics at Civil Engineering University in Odessa, Ukraine. He developed a course on psychological methods of management and gave related lectures and seminars to managers of industrial firms and organizations of Odessa and the Odessa region. He is an honorary professor of psychology at the Baltic Academy of Education (St.-Petersburg, Russia) and a regular contributor to the Academy’s periodic journal. Since immigrating to the United States he worked as a manager of construction projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. He combined his work with writing on the subjects matter of psychology of management, the psychology of individual differences and on some theoretical issues. His writings were published by Taylor and Francis Group in the proceedings of International Conferences on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics and in the collections of articles.
His most recent book The Psychology of Effective Management: Strategies for Relationship Building was published by Routledge in 2017.