Actively Listening to Your Stakeholders is Not Easy
- Project Manager
"Not just listen, listen with a purpose"
With many tasks to juggle in a project, the project manager must learn to listen and understand their stakeholders.
Listening to stakeholders can be hard as many of them come from different backgrounds, have different interests and have different agendas for your project. The project manager must learn to deal with all types of stakeholders to successfully obtain what you need from them.
Dealing with different project stakeholders can create conflict. So it is very important for a project manager to employ relationship management skills to address any issues that may arise with the project sponsor, team, vendor or other project stakeholders.
As a project manager you should actively listen to your stakeholders. They hold the key to the success of your project as they will definitely be able to provide you with information that you don't know or have. So you need to treat them well , be present in the moment of each conversation and give them the respect they deserve.
If you were a stakeholder for another project, sure you would like to be listened to at all times. Your project stakeholders want to feel heard and understood in the same way. They also have the need to provide you with meaningful insights and help you achieve success.
By listening to your stakeholder, they can help you with the following:
- increasing collaboration with other difficult stakeholders
- understanding hidden information
- making important decisions
- negotiating with vendors and third parties more productively
- dealing with management
Never let things go in one ear and out the other, listen to the advice of your team and stakeholders. As a project manager, you do not need to know all details about a project, but you need to be open to suggestions and insights of others in your team.
“We can listen twice as much as we can speak”, Epictetus theorized.
Being a good listener is part of your emotional intelligence and it is in our best interest to listen to others without judgement or prejudice. Be present in every conversation that you have, understand what others tell you, show interests in what others say and reply with authenticity.
Make listening one of your top character traits.
Are you a good listener? Do you actively listen to your stakeholders? if not, you must!