Guest Post By Jeff Davidson
For all the technical skills that project managers have to master in order to be successful, the “people side” of project management remains paramount. Unless you’re a good communicator, and can effectively interact with your staff, your project is not going to proceed as smoothly as otherwise.
Towards that end, here are a few tips to help you with the communication aspects of successful project management:
Giving criticism effectively is not easy. There is a fine line between upsetting a team member’s day and offering constructive feedback that will help the team member and improve the project. As the old saying goes, it is easy to avoid criticism: say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing. If you are going to move mountains, you are going to have to accept some slings and arrows. In short, the ability to receive criticism is crucial for project managers.
You don’t know everything, and thank goodness. Team members, other project managers, and those who authorize the project to begin with can provide valuable input, including new directions and new procedures. Be open to them, because you might find a way to slash $120,000 and three months off of your project cost.
Meetings are a necessary evil in the event of completing projects, with the exception of solo projects. Periodic meetings are vital for keeping project staff informed and for updating superiors on the progress being made on the project. Take the time to read up on the fundamentals of meetings so that you can conduct them in a succinct, enjoyable manner. With a little effort, almost any project manager can become an effective meeting manager.
That doesn’t mean telling jokes and stories all day. It simply means maintaining a lighthearted look at life. Situations are going to go wrong, things are going to happen out of the blue, and the weird and the wonderful are going to pass your way. You have to maintain a sense of humor so that you don’t do damage to your health, your team, your organization, and the project itself. Moreover, your staff members will feel better about starting work each day.
Sometimes, the best response to a breakdown is to simply let out a good laugh. Take a walk, stretch, renew yourself, and then come back and figure out what you are going to tackle next. As Colin Powell says, in most circumstances, “Things will look better in the morning,” and these words are well worth heeding. No matter what happens regarding you and your staff, and the direction of the project, if you convey a sense of mirth and you communicate clearly, you have a fighting chance to make it better than it was the day before.
Jeff Davidson is “The Work-Life Balance Expert®” and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, harmony, and integrative issues. He wrote Everyday Project Management, Breathing Space, and Simpler Living. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for information on Jeff’s keynote speeches and seminars.