Being able to understand and communicate with people effectively is really important in project management. Just like other project management skills it takes time, effort and training, but it really is a valuable investment.
Here are some tips to help you create truly effective working relationships:
The Other Person
One mistake many of us make in a project management environment and in other areas of business, is forgetting the other person we are communicating with. Many of us are guilty of focusing on ourselves when it comes to communicating; we are thinking about what we want to say next instead of listening to the other person talking, which simply isn’t effective. It’s all about being considerate and genuinely interested in the other person, what they have to say and what they feel. Many project management training courses emphasize the importance of good communication in project success but this is a skill that cannot be learnt on a 1-week course but has to be developed over time by the individual. So if you’re trying to engage with others, have their thoughts, feelings and opinions at the forefront of your mind and truly listen to what they have to say.
Treating Everyone As A Respected Individual
Every single person you work with has something to offer and should be appreciated simply for being who they are. Appreciate the qualities each of your colleagues and team members have and value those qualities, remembering to have an awareness and appreciation for cultures, approaches and outlooks.
Relating To Others
No matter how different you are to any of your colleagues, you will have something in common for them. Perhaps that’s just the fact you work for the same organisation, or the fact you are working together on the same project. It’s also a case of remembering most people have the same emotional reaction to common life events, so it’s likely something that has happened to you in the past will have happened to your colleague, and it is likely you can relate to how they felt about it. Whilst staying within professional boundaries, don’t be afraid to share personal experiences and stories with the people you work with. Try to recognise that even the person you deem to be the opposite of you, could be the most similar, you just might not know why yet.
Caring And Supporting
It is important to care about your team and support them through everything they do. The way you act towards others will encourage them to behave that way towards you and others. By being a caring and supportive boss you will promote a caring and supportive atmosphere. Try and be authentic with what you say and avoid saying nice things all the time ‘just because’ this will come across as false and disingenuous.
Everyone loves a helpful person, especially when it comes to working relationships. It doesn’t have to be big gestures either, just a simple bit of advice on a task, to a half hour extra of overtime, even simply passing a message on when someone is really busy. Of course you must balance this out so you don’t just become a yes man – only take on extra work or tasks when it doesn’t affect your productivity negatively.