Join Terri Wagner for an in-depth discussion in this video Engaging interpersonal skills, part of Project Management Foundations: Stakeholders.
- There are many interpersonal skills project managers might apply during a project. Let's take a moment and look at a few key interpersonal skills that can help you, while engaging your stakeholders. You want to have a good understanding of communication methods available to you, and an awareness of the best method for key stakeholders, given their own unique personalities and their positional power within the organization. There are many personality profile tools available to help organizations improve communications.
One of the most popular profiles available on the marketplace today is called DISC personality profile. In this model, there are four main dimensions of behavior, and understanding a stakeholder's primary orientation within this model, can help guide you in the best communication and conflict resolution approach to take with that individual for ultimate success. Dominate individuals tend to be direct, results oriented, firm, strong-willed, and forceful. Influencers tend to be outgoing, enthusiastic, optimistic, high-spirited, and lively.
Steadfast stakeholders tend to be even-tempered, accommodating, patient, humble, and tactful. Conscientious team members, or stakeholders, tend to be analytical, reserved, precises, private, and systematic. You can find more information about this model in the exercise files. Also, to take the survey and get your own personalized narrative report, go to the website mentor-source.com.
It'll take just 10 to 15 minutes and you can download your report immediately after completing the survey questions. The DISC classic profile is a self-assessment designed to help people better understand themselves and others. It's a very useful model of individual behavior and will help you to discover your own strengths and weaknesses. The central premiss is that once you understand your own behavioral styles, and learn to recognize other people's styles, you can adapt to more closely emulate the other person's style.
Naturally some people are better at flexing their own style than others. But this is, nonetheless, a skill that everybody can learn and develop. If a team of yours would like to take the survey, I recommend the Everything DISC Workplace Profiles. Each team member takes their own survey and then you can share the results with one another and gain key insights into how to improve your understanding of one another, and really increase the team's ability to effectively communicate and problem-solve.
I've done this as a team-building event with clients and they love it. Our naturally tendency is to communicate with people the way we like others to communicate with us. However, we don't all like, nor respond to the same approach. Knowing somebody's predominant personality through a tool like this, can help you form the best interpersonal approach and strategy that will work well with that person's temperament. It's like swimming with the current at the ocean, rather than fighting against the waves. Progress is made much more quickly and with less effort, gaining alliance and resolving issues.
Looking at our wind energy project, if you knew that Claire Jones, our director of IT, was a strong D, or dominant personality, and you tried to influence her decision to add contractor staff, to stay on schedule, by bombarding her with a ton of details in a lengthy report, for her to analyze and evaluate, you'd probably get resistance. That approach would work better on a C, or conscientious, team member. Dominant team members want you to be brief, be brilliant, and be gone.
Providing Claire with a one-sheet, fact-based document along with very clear, forceful statement about the importance of delivering this project on time, will be a much better stakeholder strategy to engage and align Claire with your desired course of action, that's also in the best interest of the project and organizational goals. Remember, finding the right stakeholder strategy with a tool like DISC, will show that you've been actively listening to your stakeholder and help you build trust, manage conflict, and communicate the most effectively with each individual stakeholder.
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