What Makes a Successful Project Manager – Part 3
Ok, let us recap the first few project managers’ traits that are instrumental to the success of any project. We discussed how Leadership through respect and trust is critically important at the beginning stages of any project. We then introduced Team Building, which is an ongoing process that must be performed throughout the entire project lifecycle. The next trait we discussed was Motivation which is closely tied with the team’s commitment level to a project.
Today we will discuss Communication and Influence, often cited as the biggest reasons for a project’s success or failure.
As you know, the project manager spends approximately 90% of his time communicating with the various project stakeholders. Communication has been identified as one of the single biggest reasons for project success or failure. Effective communication within the project team and between the project manager, team members, and all external stakeholders is essential for the success of the project.
Openness in communication is a gateway to and prerequisite for teamwork and improved performance. Good communication improves relationships among project team members and creates mutual trust, along with a pleasant environment and high morale.
To communicate effectively, the project manager should be aware of the communication styles, cultural issues, relationships, personalities, and overall context of the situation. He must also be aware of what is going on above and below the surface. Awareness of these factors leads to mutual understanding and thus to effective communication.
Project managers should identify various effective communication channels, understand what information they need to provide, when and to whom. They also need to identify what information they need to receive, and which interpersonal skills will help them communicate effectively with various project stakeholders. Carrying out team-building activities will also aid in selecting the appropriate communications styles for the various situations.
These styles include: directive, collaborative, logical, explorative, etc. This will enable the project manager to plan his communications with appropriate sensitivity to different relationships and cultural diversity.
Listening and active listening are a very important part of communication. Listening techniques, both active and effective, give the user insight to problem areas, negotiation and conflict management strategies, decision making, and problem resolution.
Influence is a strategy of sharing power and relying on the project manager’s interpersonal skills to get others to cooperate, with the goal of achieving and realizing the project goals. Using the following guidelines can help influence team members:
- Lead by personal example
- Clarify how decisions will be made
- Use flexible interpersonal styles and adjust them to the style to the human environment
- Apply your power skillfully and cautiously. Think of long-term collaboration.
Check out Part 4 of the ‘What Makes a Great Project Manager’ Series when we will Decision Making and Political and Cultural Awareness and how sensitivity to a project’s resources is the key to successful execution. Looking forward to hearing from you, comments are always welcome.