By Wayne Turmel

The Project Manager is the heart of a remote project team. Wait, don’t roll your eyes. I’m not talking the soft-and-mushy-Oprah version of “heart”. I mean the literal, physical, blood-pumping heart. Hear me out.

What is your heart? It’s a four-chambered muscle that takes spent blood in, adds oxygen and pumps it back out to the rest of the body. As a Project Manager, you serve the same purpose, only it’s not oxygen you’re pumping, but information and context.

Think of it this way. The human heart has two chambers that receive tired, spent blood, and two that pump it full of life-giving air and send it back through the body. As a PM, you do the same thing. You receive information from both your team members (think of that as the Right Atria) and from the organization, customers and other stakeholders (that would be the Left Atria.) When you receive that information, what do you do with it?

You process that information and communicate it out adding whatever context, new information and wisdom you possess. So the information from the stakeholders gets “oxygenated” and passed on to the team (that would be your right ventricle) and the information from your team has to be communicated to the stakeholders (the left ventricle.)

Just as the heart is necessary to process, energize and distribute healthy, oxygen-rich blood to the various corners of your body, the information that passes through the Project Manager has to be processed, curated, translated and communicated out, both inside and outside the team so that everyone involved is informed and heard.

Now take a moment to take a bit of a “communication EKG.” Are there blockages in how communication occurs on your team? Are certain team members having difficulty understanding your messages?

Do they know what the Stakeholders are worried about? Do those folks know what’s going on at the implementation level? Just as with our hearts, small blockages now can cause major problems—even death later on.

How are you doing as the “heart” of your team? Time for a check-up?

For more resources on improving the success and productivity of remote project teams, check out this session: How to Create and Manage Productive Remote Project Teams.


Wayne Turmel--The Remote Leadership Institute
Wayne Turmel, co-founder of the Remote Leadership Institute.

Wayne Turmel
Co-Founder and Product Line Manager

Wayne Turmel is the co-founder and Product Line Manager for the Remote Leadership Institute. For twenty years he’s been obsessed with helping managers communicate more effectively with their teams, bosses and customers. Wayne is the author of several books that demystify communicating through technology including Meet Like You Mean It – a Leader’s Guide to Painless & Productive Virtual Meetings, 10 Steps to Successful Virtual Presentations and 6 Weeks to a Great Webinar. His work appears frequently in

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