We can all recall situations where we have utterly failed to listen to what someone else is saying. For various reasons, we are simply not taking in anything useful. How many times have you been introduced to a person by name only to not know what their name is thirty seconds later?
What did you say Often we think we're listening when we really aren't. In all fairness, we can take in only so much information at one time. But it's important to perform active listening when someone else is speaking. As a project manager, you will spend the majority of your time communicating with team members, stakeholders, customers, vendors, and others. This means you should be as good a listener as you are a communicator. You can use several techniques to improve your listening skills. Many books are devoted to this topic, so I'll try to highlight some of the most common techniques here Making eye contact with the speaker is another effective listening tool. This lets the speaker know you are paying attention to what they're saying and are interested.
When teams form around common challenges and overcome them with creativity and perseverance, strong communication skills are at work. In such a dynamic problem-solving environment, no communication skill is more important than listening, because it is through listening that we gain the value of another person's insight. In addition, effective listening builds trust and demonstrates respect during the
The term active listening implies that listening to others and actually understanding their intended message requires effort and skill. When you consider some of the naturally occurring obstacles to listening, it is easy to understand why. For a summary of active listening tips, see the box on the next page. Listening during team meetings requires even more skill than listening during one-to-one conversations. Many natural obstacles to listening are typically present during meetings. Obviously, whoever is leading the meeting should also lead the active listening, but that may not be sufficient. An honest dialogue may require several participants to use active listening techniques, such as summarizing or asking clarifying questions, in order to understand just one person's point of view. That makes it all the more important for the entire team to have these skills. ACTIVE LISTENING TIPS During active listening, here are some behaviors you should work to avoid.
Such interviews are not only useful when you start working in a new network management job or as a facilitator in a new context. Conducting such interviews will notably improve your capacity for extracting meaningful information from ordinary conversations with relevant people, particularly because the interviews develop your capacity for active listening and cross-checking (triangulation) information from different sources. Both capacities are as important for managers as they are for facilitators.
Again listening is essential during a meeting. Let another person convey his her message. Do not interrupt the other person while he is speaking. Involve yourself in the message. Look for ideas you can support. Determine the central theme or concepts. Summarize and paraphrase frequently. This provides the speaker with feedback on the success of the communication. It is also the only way to confirm your understanding of the information. Further, there may be another team member who does not understand. All critical ideas must be repeated by another member and discussed to ensure clarity of ideas necessary for consensus decision-making. Talk only to clarify while you are listening. Effective listening requires your full concentration. Empathize with other people. In other words, put yourself in their shoes for a while. You do not have to sympathize with them. Empathy helps you understand sympathy may actually be a barrier. Nurture active listening skills. Active and effective...
The reason that principled negotiation is effective is that it avoids the polarization of positions. When the two sides to a negotiation work from opposing positions, they have no way to agree. A win for one is a loss for the other. The only way out of this dilemma is to move from positions to interests. What is each party after, and what do they really want Note that to find out what they really want, the team must practice empathic or active listening (see also Section 3.8).
Our project teams come together temporarily to solve a series of problems. As the group learns to work together and struggles to find new solutions, they are likely to disagree time and time again. Though such disagreement is a sign of a healthy dialogue, not everyone is used to or comfortable with this type of disagreement or conflict. The listening skills we have described here enable the people to use respectful conversations as they discuss ideas, maintaining relationships while pursuing the best solution. To the degree that a team leader can teach these skills, it can help the team move more quickly through Tuck-man's Storming phase. Finally, listening skills have a special role in the high-performance team framework All of the other capabilities depend on team members being able to listen effectively.
The project manager clearly needs to understand or detect any problems early in the process or identify in the planning phases. The project manager needs to have good listening skills, as it is important not to filter any bad or good news out. He or she needs to listen to facts make the project plan, the requirements, the scope statement, and the budget the foundation of all communications. Communicate the nature of the project to all team members and stakeholders and allow for a question and answer session.
We want the people on our teams to hold themselves mutually accountable to a common goal. The team members want to trust each other and to be treated with respect. They also want to accomplish something, to know their energy and talents are producing results. Ground rules, listening skills, meeting management, and the actions that build team identity all work together to create a positive team environment, as shown on the left side of the arch in our highperformance team model (see Figure 10.1). As the team's leader, it is your job to put each of these pieces in place.
Effective listening is a habit that your entire team needs to develop. You can speed this development through several actions early in the project. As the project leader, you can demonstrate effective listening, which teaches by example. Look for effective listening behaviors within the team. Point them out as you debrief a team meeting, emphasizing how active listening contributed to a better discussion. Add active listening as a desired behavior to your ground rules. Use the ground rules as a reminder during meetings if discussions start to degenerate into arguments.
This stage is rarely fun, but it is natural. Respond to the chaos with structure and clear direction. Recognize early accomplishments. Be willing to engage the group in participative decision making to address their concerns. Facilitate group decisions, demonstrate effective listening, and ensure equitable participation among all team members. Your example will be setting the tone that moves them to the next stage.
Unfortunately, most of us are not very good listeners. Most of us could improve our communication if we just started to listen better to listen with an open mind, to hear the entire message before forming conclusions, and to work toward mutual understanding with the speaker. We allow distractions to prevent us from giving our full attention to the speaker. We allow our minds to wander instead of focusing on the speaker. We allow our biases and prejudices to form the basis for our understanding. Instead, we should allow the new information we are hearing to form the basis for our understanding.
Theory Y managers believe people are interested in performing their best given the right motivation and proper expectations. These managers provide support to their teams, are concerned about their team members, and are good listeners. Theory Y managers believe people are creative and committed to the project goals, that they like responsibility and seek it out, and that they are able to perform the functions of their positions with limited supervision.
Engineers engaged in Research and Development (R&D), by virtue of their technical background, tend to show a genuine interest in advancements in their field of expertise. However, they are usually not good listeners towards non-technical people, including end-users. They perceive the basic wishes of customers, often related to the user-friendliness of the product, as being straightforward, and not very challenging in the technical sense.
Active listening is one of the secret weapons of effective project managers. 4. Communication Skills Since communication is regarded as the most important project management skill by PMI, I felt it was important to separate these out. Skills included in this category would include all written communication skills (correspondence, emails, documents), oral communication skills, facilitation skills, presentation skills and the most valuableactive listening. Active listening can be defined as really listening and the ability to listen with focus, empathy, and the desire to connect with the speaker.
Active listening 2nd assumptions, avoiding 2nd change control principles clarity Philip cross-cultural projects difference management accents, listening skills days off differences formality consideratins misunderstandings potential impacts time zone considerations cross-functional projects difference management alignment considerations assumptions
Interpersonal relations embrace three primary skills being an active listener, reading people, and dealing with conflicts effectively. Being an Active Listener One of the best communication tools a project manager can have is active listening. It means listening genuinely to what the speaker is saying in short, focusing on what is said and how it is said. Active listeners
It may seem as though the habits that contribute most to continuous learning have been previously discussed setting ground rules, routine self-assessments, and following active listening and consensus decision-making guidelines to promote honest discussion. But teams can do all of these things and not reach their potential. John Redding, author of The Radical Team Handbook, notes that routine self-assessment by project teams is fairly common. What differs, he notes, is whether the assessments lead to new or deeper understanding of the problems the team is facing.5 Likewise, many teams use ground rules to set norms without developing the habits that create original solutions. What makes the difference
If we had to pick one area where a project runs into trouble, we would pick the very beginning. For some reason, people have a difficult time understanding what they are saying to one another. How often do you find yourself thinking about what you are going to say while the other party is talking If you are going to be a successful project manager, you must stop that kind of behavior. An essential skill that project managers need to cultivate is good listening skills. Good listening skills are important in the project planning phase for two different project situations
This stage is less structured than the first stage. The manager broadens the focus to include both accomplishing tasks and building relationships. As the social need for belonging becomes important to group members, the emphasis is on interpersonal interactions active listening, assertiveness, conflict management, flexibility, creativity, and
Although hard skills (e.g., expertise with software and hardware) are important, soft skills are important, too. For example, SWAT team members must solicit buy-in for their work. Active listening, facilitation, communication, and teaming skills are extremely important. Also important is the ability to keep calm under pressure and a willingness to share equipment, expertise, or information.
The examples provided are only a partial list of the potential benefits achievable through PPM. They reflect careful preparation around a process to link each project to organizational strategic goals. They draw on active listening, true inquiry, and a commitment to developing an optimized process specifically for the organization. As in any other change management process, success is usually possible only when people have the opportunity to participate in the design, selection, and implementation of the new process. The framework provides a mechanism to ensure that this happens.
In building a presentation for remote delivery, the content should be direct, clear, and unambiguous. Complex ideas should be rendered as less complex analogies that the audience can see or hear and readily understand. The content should be rendered in digestible segments, because one-way communication does not encourage active listening and participation. In video presentations, the graphics should be simple, because the presentation screens being used by the receivers may be as small as DVD playback units, which do not allow for a great deal of detail. (Granted, most remote presentations are projected on larger screens, but there is no guarantee of how the content will be used and reused.)
Listening is a technique for receiving and understanding information. Listening skills are critical to effective teamwork. Listening is one of our most important communication needs but it is the least developed skill. Effective listening requires an effort to understand the ideas and feelings, the other person is trying to communicate. An effective listener hears the content and emotion behind the message. Expert listening requires active behavior. It requires an effort. It requires attention to the person and the message. An active listener attends to not only what the person is saying, but also to gestures, posture, and vocal qualities. It means actively communicating that you are listening and trying to understand the other person. It requires discipline, concentration, and practice. Effective listening requires the following Nurture active listening skills. Understanding the other person's views is essential to effective listening. Set aside your opinions and judgments and place...