A key skill within project management is effective relationship management; I know some exceptional communicators and also know some who think they are exceptional communicators – unfortunately it is difficult to break through a hardened ego shell so this article is aimed at those who remain open minded to improving or honing their skill. Behaviours play a big part of relationship management and building – gaining respect doesn’t purely come from a shining track record of stellar delivery, it comes from a few factors:
- Respecting others – show interest in individuals and understand what their drivers are, listen to them and hold on to the information.
- Be genuine – we are all human, admit your mistakes and set your limits.
- Support others awareness of you, share interests and values.
- Demonstrate integrity – practice what you preach, roll your sleeves up and work with others.
Connect with others by listening, create a positive environment where you demonstrate a personal investment in the relationship, apply appropriate boundaries and gain a clear sense of what individuals are saying, build rapport and encourage others to listen in return.
When in a scenario you should look to apply the following:
- Acknowledge what is being said, register what is happening.
- Identify their intentions – what is it they hope to achieve.
- Review – consider the conversation and either respond there or give a time when you will be able to provide a response.
Always ensure conversations have a healthy balance of input and response, listen, offer support or solutions, listen, confirm understanding, listen, reflect and summarise. Make observations; provide feedback and/or opinions, challenge views, offer relevant examples/stories and advice. Don’t talk over others – let them have their say, but keep in control of the discussion.