The importance of communication when it comes to project management cannot be emphasised enough. If you do not know how to communicate effectively, it is impossible for targets to be reached. This is especially the case when you consider the fact that project leaders spend approximately 90 per cent of their time on activities that are related to communication. If you think about it, communication is the basis of most tasks, and it overlaps many aspects of a project leader’s job, from providing status updates to assigning tasks. With that being said, continue reading to find out more about the communication skills that all effective project managers need to have.
- Respect – There is only one place to begin, and this is with respect. The best project managers know how to communicate while maintaining a level of respect. Even if someone is suggesting something ridiculous, you need to value their contribution, otherwise you could create an environment whereby people are afraid to speak up. Respect is the basis of all positive working relationships, and without it, you will lose your team.
- Clarity – Learning how to communicate in a clear and concise manner is imperative, which is why it is often taught throughout project management training. Unfortunately, those without training can often say things in a long-winded manner or a roundabout way. However, an effective leader needs to have the ability to take something complex and simplify it for all of their team to understand. What you also need to remember is that your team is made up of different people, and thus you need to be able to gear your communication method, style, and medium to suit your audience.
- Accessibility – Aside from this, you also need to be accessible. If your team members or stakeholders do not feel like they can approach you, barriers are going to be in the way that could result in something important being missed. It is your job to make sure that all stakeholders and team members realise that they can communicate freely and that your door is never going to be closed to them.
- Consistency – You also need to be consistent with your communication style. If you switch from one style to another, your team will be confused, and they will not know whether they can approach you or not. Moreover, if you are to develop credibility with your project sponsors, it is imperative that you are viewed as a reliable and consistent communicator.
- Motivation – All leaders need to be motivational and have a lot of energy. After all, no one wants a leader that is disengaged, negative, and pessimistic. Even if you are feeling dejected, it is important to be aware of the attitude you are giving off to your team, as you don’t want your entire team to become demotivated. Your motivational abilities and disposition can be the difference between a team that works in cohesion and one that is entirely dysfunctional. This is important when things don’t always go to plan and schedules are hectic. It is your job to keep everyone motivated and boost morale.
- Confidence – It is important to give off a confident air whenever you communicate. There are numerous reasons why this is the case. Firstly, if you are confident in what you have to say, your team will believe you and feel confident in your approach. If you are unsure, it will make your team unsure. Not only this, but executives and stakeholders want project leaders that are confident in their abilities and knowledge. However, remember that there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. If you are arrogant, it will make the members of your team feel reluctant and uncomfortable, especially when voicing differing opinions and sharing ideas. However, confidence will enable people to work toward shared goals.
- Objective – A good leader will make sure they listen to all sides. It is crucial to be fair and objective in your approach. This is going to prove to be especially important when it comes to complex projects, as it is likely that department objectives or individual stakeholders objectives clash. You need to know how to handle this in a manner whereby everyone feels important and that his or her opinions are valued.
- Focus – It can be easy to lose focus when things do not go to plan, which often occurs during projects. You need to remain calm under pressure and ensure that you remain focused on the key aspects of the project. When things are going wrong, your team is going to look to you in order to practice sound judgment and be rational. It is important that you are level-headed, stable, and that you keep the team’s focus on the vital elements of the project.
- Transparency – When communicating with your team and stakeholders, it is important to be transparent in your communications. This is especially the case when it comes to your team, as you want them to trust what you are saying and not believe that you have any type of hidden agenda. If you have a transparent nature, it will say a lot about your intentions. Nevertheless, there are, of course, instances when you do need to act with confidentiality, for example, when you are dealing with sensitive information.
- Trustworthiness – Last but not least, trust is one of the most important qualities you need to have as a leader, and trust is something you can evoke via your style of communication. People want to work with those they can trust. If they don’t trust you, it is unlikely that they are going to want to embrace your direction and vision.
So there you have it – all of the qualities you need if you are going to be an effective communicator. This is a quality that all of the best project managers need to have. Work on the elements of communication that have been mentioned above, and if you are struggling to achieve the attributes that have been touched upon you should consider project management training.