Posted in Communication, Leadership, Project Management | Posted on 29-08-2010 | 17,900 views|
I have been honoured to be interviewed by Jo Ann Sweeney to select top five from a list of 15 communication skills project mangers and leaders need to have in order to lead their teams, despite the innovative communication technologies we have, yet most of today’s business problems are due to poor communication, in this post I am going to share my thoughts on the top five skills I have selected
The top five skills I have selected are somehow interrelated, however I found that the fundamental ones such as trust and respect will always lead to great results, the following are the top five skills I have selected along with why I have have selected them:
- Conveying the Vision, Goals & Objectives of the Organisation: Ideally each and every team member has to see the big picture and understand the vision, mission, key values, and goals & objectives of the organization he is working for, this will enable team members to know whether they do the right thing, and will encourage them to think of new ways to enhance business and find less costly ways to do the work, leaders and managers have to keep open communication channels with employees and inform the team as and when objectives change
- Building Relationships Based on Trust and Respect: Trust is one of the most important traits of a leader, teams will not perform unless they trust the project manager and the organization, and feel they are trusted, trust will encourage people to propose ideas, suggest ways to enhance work, speak of their concerns about the project and give advices, if the environment lack trust culture everyone will think 100 times before giving recommendations and before embarking on any new initiative fearing that they may be blamed or punished if things go wrong. Respect is the other side of the coin, I always believe that respecting people will make them do more and will make them own what they do, I have coined a term called RED Leadership ( Respect, Empathize, and Develop ) you can read my article RED Leadership
- Giving Feedback: Kenneth Blanchard is saying in his book The One Minute Manager “Feedback is the breakfast of the champions”, Kenneth emphasized on the importance of giving feedback to employees as and when required, many managers wait till performance reviews and give feedback following the methodology of NIHYSOB ( Now I have you SOB ), other managers focus on negative aspects only forgetting that feedback is meant to be positive and negative, if feedback is given to the team they will always adapt their ways, leaders and managers should follow the principle of “catching people doing something right” as Kenneth has recommended in his book.
- Recognising: This is related to feedback, we have to understand that during credit crunch people are very stressed, and so the leader has to motivate and recognize good people, money is not the silver bullet it’s not even deemed as a motivator, Herzberg – Motivation-Hygiene Theory, people can be motivated by small stuff but it has to be “genuine”
- Active Listening: Though listening is one of the 101 of management, Many managers do not listen, they interrupt and impose their viewpoints, a true leader has to listen and give the team a chance to express themselves, listening is the main gate to trust and solid relationships, every morning when looking in the mirror, a manager should remember that he has two ears and one tongue!
Having these five skills would make a lot of difference, teams think whether they do the right things before doing things right, they feel valued and once they feel valued they will automatically get motivated, unfortunately the problem is with Task Oriented Leaders/Managers who treat teams as robots! With giving feedback and listening to team members, they will adapt themselves, and also feel valued when they are asked to give recommendations and advises
It is not difficult to the project manager or the leader to develop these five skills, though many organizations have a lot of constraints, the project manager should do what he can to nurture the above skills, and most importantly to practice them, even if practicing is done on a very small scale! if the project manager himself doesn’t have enough information and this happens in many secretive organizations
You can read the full article that includes my and other professionals’ viewpoints at PMI Career Central: 5 Essential Rules of Project Leaders, you also can read more about communication skills at Jo Ann’s blog