The success of your project is often very closely tied to your ability to form a good relationship with each of the members of your team. Building connected project teams is not an easy task, but well worth the investment. As a project manager, you know the mechanics of developing a project plan and communication strategy, executing on that plan and documenting the process, but let’s focus on those soft skills of relationship building which naturally produce healthy team collaboration.
Every good relationship starts with an honest interest in another person. While you may feel the need to separate your personal and professional life, this can often harm a work relationship. Remember you are working with people, not roles or resources, and each of these people have lives that extend beyond the office. Connect on topics of shared interest and listen. At first glance, this communication strategy may appear completely irrelevant to your project, but you are discovering each of your stakeholders’ point of reference, a valuable bit of knowledge for building connected teams.
Relationship building is a two-way proposition so become comfortable sharing personal information about yourself. As you become vulnerable, others will be more willing to share with you. This creates an environment of confidence which leads to strong team collaboration. Consider reading Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni for more on the topic.
This can sound artificial and can easily be perceived as a phony attempt at manipulation. If you feel like you’re faking it, you’re doing it wrong. Simply put, your communication strategy is to strive for honest transparency. At Motive Power we’ve marked the walls with the constant reminder that “we do what we say and we say what we do”. Find your own terminology or borrow ours, but start building connected teammates in an environment that nurtures honest feedback.
Clarity and simplicity help to eliminate misunderstanding. Practice a consistent communication strategy absent of ambiguity and expect the same in your team collaboration. Call out teammates when their position or explanation is unclear and demand they all will do the same to you. You will have your own style but the end goal is the same, develop strong connections with a foundation of trust and you will see a remarkable improvement in your team collaboration and outcomes.