How Important Is Communication?
A project manager ultimately has the responsibility for the coordination of all resources, providing direction, and leading a team toward a successful project completion. In housing and land development projects, I have often seen how ineffective communication can be detrimental to a project’s success. And this poor communication can come from the project manager and the team members, and it can be in either poor verbal or written form.
One of the key communication skills that I have often seen overlooked is the ability to listen. As a project manager, I have had a consultant here and there who just doesn’t seem to want to listen, whether it is to me as the project manager or other team consultants. Perhaps it is a personality trait in that an experienced consultant already has in their mind the solution and just cannot focus on listening to another party’s issues or suggestions. As a project manager, I have found that the process bogs down because this lack of listening delays getting to the optimal solutions. As well, a project manager who does not listen well may end up being the cause of project delays and ineffective decisions.
Another key communication skill is the use of emails. I think that emails can be extremely effective in providing information and direction to all team members – and can also be quite time efficient. However, I have seen some poorly written emails that are unclear and lack the necessary information for the project team to function effectively. I believe it is valuable in many emails to take the necessary time to draft, review, edit, and re-review the message before sending out the email. You may have 10 project team members who receive your message and are unclear as to what is next, who is doing it, and what the objective might be.
Many other communication techniques are equally important in effective project management. Please share with us below your experiences, comments, and questions.