A vital aspect of project management and project leadership comes down to soft skills. You can create amazing plans and the most aesthetically pleasing scorecards, but if you can’t communicate, lead and motivate your team with effective soft skills then your hard skills will become more and more irrelevant.
In this post we look at communication, and focus on a few common mistakes.
1. Communicating in writing instead of face-to-face
All too often the easy decision is taken, to communicate via email rather than face-to-face. Written communication is perfect for short, clear messages that do not involve complexity. Unfortunately, misunderstandings and disagreements can be created by relying on written communication as the only vehicle for communication.
2. Not doing enough of the most important element of communication – listening
Project managers are often responsible for assigning work, identifying risks, managing issues, coordinating activities and assessing progress. In the midst of these activities the approach of listening, asking for input and ensuring the team understands what is being asked of them, gets lost. Taking time to listen to people and asking for input, rather than just allocating work, will help empower and motivate your team members.
3. Only communicating at the status meeting
Don’t wait for or rely on your status meetings to be the main communication channel to your team. Focus on the status meetings being short and with a clear purpose, highlighting any barriers to progress and agreeing the approach to overcome the barriers. The optimum way to engage with team members outside of your status meetings is to engage each team member in one-to-one sessions. This will allow you to focus on the team member and their needs, not just what you need from them.