excellent project communications
Project managers with excellent communication skills will avoid unnecessary conflict.

Having to change plans at the last minute to accommodate someone else’s poor time management or planning is a source of frustration for anyone but can be mitigated by avoiding conflict through communication . Take any business; the staff are heads down, diligently working on their individual and department objectives, both tactical and strategic. Without realizing it, individual departments can quickly become business silos. Placing a greater emphasis on doing, rather than communicating, can quickly cause conflict between departments when the actions or consequences of one department’s objectives, collide with another.

Simple conflict scenario

Take a seemly simple scenario where there is a mandate from management to upgrade the ERP system before the end of the quarter. The time line is agreed, the software update is available but no one from the project office has notified the IT Helpdesk. This seemingly last minute request impacts the IT Helpdesk team as the work hasn’t been scheduled. Plus, as it is a business critical application it can only be worked on at weekends. AND, the technician that looks after the ERP system is on vacation for two weeks!

Scenarios like the one above, illustrate the operational problems that can arise if business goals or objectives are not communicated across departments. Without consultation each department will defend their priorities as being more important and will be reluctant to yield. This creates more conflict.

Planning and communication are key for any project that intersects other business departments and stakeholders. When planning infrastructure IT projects it is important that from the initial planning stages to establish clear channels of communication with all stakeholders to explain process and manage expectations. Also communicate the why and when for all key deployment decisions that require input or participation from department members. Demonstrate to stakeholders how their involvement contributes to the department and to overall business goals.

With the aid of collaboration tools, thinking outside of your cube and clear communication you can improve the visibility of cross-functional projects and the seemingly random, thoughtless acts of another department trying to de-rail you from your objectives will be a thing of the past.

  • Make sure your communication is effective and impressive: Never play with words or share haphazard thoughts with others, instead use corporate jargons and professional terminologies for better understanding. If you yourself are not clear what you expect from your fellow worker, the other person will never be able to understand what you intend to communicate. Be very precise but convincing. The content has to be relevant and sensible. Avoid using derogatory sentences and lewd remarks as it is considered strictly unprofessional. Don’t adopt a casual approach at work.
  • Be a good and a patient listener: Never jump with your question in between any presentation or seminar, as it seriously offends the speaker and results in displeasure. Wait for your turn to speak. Don’t poke your nose into other’s conversation. Never interfere in each other’s work. Let your colleagues have some space. Always listen to the other person as well and then decide what is right and wrong.
  • Don’t always depend on verbal communication at workplace: Professionals must communicate through emails as it is more reliable and transparent. Make sure the e-mail is marked to all the related members so that everyone is on the same lines and get a common picture. Take care of your mail body, style and font. Be transparent in your communication. Never communicate with individuals separately as people feel left out and start fighting with each other. Business Communication must be on an open forum inviting all the participants.
  • Professionals must develop the habit of using planners, organizers and desk calendars at work: You cannot remember each and every thing, so it is always advisable to jot down the points to avoid forgetting important things. Encircle the dates on the desktop calendar when you have to submit an important report to your boss or have to go for a meeting and place it right in front of you. It would prevent unnecessary stress and conflicts. Never attend any meeting without a pen and a paper. It will bother you later on.
  • The pitch and the tone have to be taken great care of: Don‘t be too low as others will not be able to understand you properly. Never ever shout or be rude to your colleagues. Shouting solves no problems and it seriously goes against you. Soften your pitch but be convincing. Professionals must take care of their accent, correct pronunciation, punctuation’s, pauses etc to make the speech impressive and for others to listen attentively.
  • Adopt a positive attitude: Don’t always find faults in the other person and assume that he is always wrong. Listen to his side of the story as well and never underestimate your fellow worker. If you do not agree with the other person, don’t start arguing, instead sit with him face to face, discuss and make him understand your point. He will feel glad. Leave your personal problems out before stepping in the office and always keep your personal interests on the back burner. Find reasons to be happy as negative thoughts always lead to conflicts and disagreements. You can’t misbehave with your colleagues just because you are in a fowl mood.
  • Never criticize anyone or make him feel small: If he has done anything wrong, make him realize his mistakes instead of making fun of him. Correct him, wherever he is wrong but in a polite way. He will respect you and look up to you in the future. Everyone is equal and one must respect his fellow worker to earn respect in return.
  • Prefer the conference room, board room or any suitable place for presentations, seminars and discussions: Avoid communicating at places like workstations, cafeteria, playgrounds or other noisy places as noise acts as a hindrance and creates misunderstandings and confusions. Don’t just speak for the sake of speaking.
  • A professional must avoid blame games at work: Learn to own your responsibilities and do not always blame others for your mistakes. Never drag issues and be a little more forgiving. Don’t always expect the others to come up to you and admit their mistakes. Take the initiative and be the first one to say sorry. It works and solves major conflict and also improves relations among individuals. Kill your ego at workplaces.
  • The superiors must ensure that the team members are assigned responsibilities according to their key responsibility areas and specializations: Never impose your decisions or views on others. Things must be discussed with everyone before implementation. An individual has to be a little more flexible and adjusting at workplaces. Never be too demanding or rigid. Things can’t always be just like the way you want.
  • Be impartial at work: Do not favor anyone just because he is your friend. Stand by what is right and do oppose someone who is wrong. Do not blame anyone just because you do not like him. An individual must be judged by the hard work he puts in and not by his physical appearance or relations with you.
  • Never discuss your work and responsibilities with others and learn to keep things a little confidential: Never spread unnecessary and baseless rumors about anyone. Gossips and backbiting must be strictly avoided at work. Encourage healthy competition at work and stay away from controversies. Too much of a friendship at work is bad and must be avoided. Avoid doing personal favours at work.

Sources include: Management Study Guide

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