Good project managers are also confident, focused, trustworthy, and objective – but more importantly, they lead by example, manage expectations of all the key stakeholders very effectively and foster a positive and energetic environment.
The best way to achieve all this is to communicate well. To help you sharpen your communication skills and be a more effective project leader, we have collected ten tips on how to communicate better as a project manager.
1. Deliver clear instructionsAs a project manager, it’s crucial that you both listen and ask questions, as this is the only way you’ll be able to understand the full scope of the project in the way that it’s presented by the stakeholders. You can then present the intent and the focus of the project to the team.
You will also need to be able to explain how this particular project fits into the company’s overall scheme and objective. By communicating well, you can make sure that everyone involved has a clear idea of the goals and what the group is trying to achieve.
2. Encourage collaborationEvery project is essentially a result of successful teamwork, as well as individual efforts. Which means that project managers need to recognise and understand the different personalities within the team and chalk out a plan that will help them to work effectively together as a whole, and benefit them all. Motivation, settling disputes and consistently encouraging team members to maintain focus are some of the most important things project managers will need to focus on when working in teams.
In a collaborative environment, all the team members encourage and support each other rather than just focusing only on their own responsibilities and tasks. They will be willing to co-operate, as well as share information, assets and ideas to help each other. The result can be smooth and seamless functioning and in many ways, this is what guarantees the success of a project.
3. Be honestIt’s crucial for project managers to speak honestly and openly – this is the only way you can build trust in your team members and stakeholders which, in turn, will make it much easier for you to make changes, deliver instructions and provide constructive criticism.
Similarly, be honest when reporting on the progress of your team to the client and provide honest assurances that will keep them satisfied. If you build your professional relationships on a foundation of dishonesty, it won’t be long before communication within the team breaks down.
4. Be more confidentStakeholders, as well as executives, want their project leaders to be confident in their abilities and knowledge, without being arrogant. Arrogant project managers will also put their team members on the back foot and are more likely to make them reluctant and uncomfortable.
However, if you’re confident and are able to communicate with your team in a confident manner, they know you will be able to step in and resolve their differences, and help them work towards shared goals.
5. Be transparentThis aspect is synonymous with building trust. Strong and effective project managers will always be transparent in all their communication. They want their team members to trust what they say but, more importantly, they want them to trust what they mean. To see how Activia can help you improve your project management skills and communicate more effectively, click here.
6. Be focusedClear communication is also a lot about being focused and stable. Every project will have its peaks and troughs, and it’s at times like these that a manager shouldn’t buckle under pressure. When the going is rough, team members look to their leader to practice sound judgement and be rational. Your team relies on you to be level-headed and stable, so you should focus on developing these attributes.
7. Be objectiveThe more complex a project is, the greater the risk it poses to the dynamics of the team. For instance, when there is a clash between the department objectives or individual stakeholders, as a project manager, you must lead the way in resolving the issue.
You should look for ways and means to overcome these differences in a constructive manner, listen to all sides without bias and communicate with all parties effectively. In addition, you’ll need to work closely with the stakeholders to carefully prioritise ideas and identify the solutions that will effectively support the broader strategic goals.
8. Lead by exampleMany project managers tend to forget that if they want to be true leaders, they have to be able and willing to walk the talk. A strong project leader will foster participation by giving team members the scope to utilise their strengths. They will remain respectful and professional at all times and give credit wherever it is due.
9. Motivate your teamMotivation and positive energy are also a vital part of working and communicating with your team members. No one will look up to a leader who is negative, disengaged and pessimistic. Regardless of how well you oil the mechanisms of your project, things may not always go as planned. This is when you have to maintain positivity and motivate your team. It can mean the difference between your team working in a cohesive manner or a total chaos.
10. Be consistent and dynamicWhen it comes to leadership, flip-flopping isn’t really a good strategy. A great project leader will always be consistent with their frequency, style and quality of communication. More importantly, he will be dynamic and will adapt based on the needs of his audience. An excellent project leader will also establish himself as a reliable communicator, which helps him to develop credibility with stakeholders, as well as flexing and evolving during change.
Do you have any other tips on how to communicate better as a project manager? Let us know in the comments below!