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Top 5 Communication Skills for Project Managers and Leaders

| Posted in Communication, Leadership, Project Management | | 15,882 views

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Top 5 Communication Skills 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:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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”
  5. 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!
Trust encourages team members to propose ideas, suggest ways to enhance work, speak of their concerns and give advice, If they lack trust, people will think twice before embarking on any new thing, fearing they may be blamed or punished if things go wrong

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

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Comments (11)

Hi Kareem

It was a delight to interview you and share your experiences and project management expertise via my blog. Thanks for taking part.

Regards, Jo Ann

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Hey Kareem!

Great post! I figured I’d jump in and contribute two little ideas…

1. Active Listening is so important I’m wondering if it can’t be promoted to a higher spot in the list.

2. I’d even add a nuance to it: observation. Listening is to the ear as observation is to the eye. They complement each other powerfully. And observation helps the leader understand how the team is evolving.

I’ll be browsing through your blog to find more gems.

Cheers!

Steve

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Hi Steve,

Thanks for sharing your viewpoint,

I do agree that observation and active listening go hand in hand, and I think the reason why observation is not usually discussed is because it’s a basic and subjective skill, a manager who always interrupts will be known for ignoring the active listening, however observation is very hard to be identified! I believe Management By Walking Around is one pattern of both active listening & observation

Cheers..

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Listening is as important a part of communication as speaking. If no one listens to what you are saying then your whole effort will be useless. In order to get others to listen to you, you have to improve your own ability.

This aspect of communication is tougher than any other to bring into practice, but is possibly the most important one. The first requirement to be a good listener is to lower your tolerance threshold to the minimum. All speakers may not speak intelligently or could be very boring. But if you practice listening carefully to even the worst speaker, you will enhance your knowledge and sharpen your skills.

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[...] “Top 5 Communication Skills for Project Managers and Leaders” – Kareem’s Blog 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. Click here to continue reading [...]

Great points!
I have one more to your list: Manage work and team collaboration with real-time, online software. As a marketing manager I know the importance of collaboration. Actually, we use Clarizen, on line project collaboration software. http://www.clarizen.com/Solutions/CollaborativePlanning.aspx
We can set and up projects in less than an hour, bring the team on one page, get real time reports and gain therefor better decision process.

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Thank you. Good communication skills are so important. I am team member, not a team leader and I know that if my manager has the 5 skills you list above, my work is more productive and focused because I know what I am doing and where I am aiming.
Project management software (like Clarizen http://www.clarizen.com/ProjectManagementSoftware.aspx ) is another great way to communicate with your team, because everyone can see the progress of the project and their own personal tasks and deadlines.
So, go on all you PMs – go and develop your interpersonal skills!

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Hi Kareem,

excellent blog i would want to knw what skills should a manager have, say i mean apart from a PMP any extra skill set degree which would add to his knowhows to become a better manager

Thanks Regards
Subbu

PS: just added my story blogspot i do in my free time
thanks again

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Thanks Mr.Kateem for this article, I noted these for my MBA studies. thanks

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[...] J 2012, Top 5 Communication skills for Project Managers and Leaders, Viewed ONLINE< 19/12/2012, http://kareemshaker.com/communication/top-5-communication-skills-for-project-managers-and-leaders/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

Yeah its a very good article about communication.like listening, interest is also a important part of a communication.As a project manager, I use Scrum in my projects. The Guide to Scrum Body of Knowledge by SCRUMstudy provided a complete reference for the Scrum project I am working with. It is a very good book and extremely readable. I really liked sections on risk and quality. The tools mentioned in the processes were very helpful. I highly recommend this book if you are planning to implement Scrum in your organization. You can go through the first chapter available on http://www.SCRUMstudy.com

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