When a stakeholder is upset…do your project managers (PMs) have the skills to manage that? Can they honor that emotion and get to the root of what’s causing the upset?
Alternatively, can they leverage positive stakeholder emotions? Can they navigate the rough waters of stakeholder management and close out their projects with minimal noise?
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is being aware of how emotions, ours and those of others, play a factor in attitudes, actions, and decisions. At GBMC, we believe PMs who have EI skills are best positioned to identify, assess, and manage project stakeholders for the benefit of the company and the people involved. Relationship management is fundamental to project success.
Include Stakeholder Satisfaction in Project Metrics.
Most PMs are results driven. They go for the key performance indicators (KPIs) the organization demands they achieve. A core competency of project leadership is stakeholder management. Understanding and responding to stakeholder emotions is essential. Teach it. Measure it. Reward it.
Ensure Relationship Management Training Includes EI.
Eliciting stakeholder requirements that define the project’s objectives can be tricky. Quite often, there are unspoken requirements and a PM without a good EI toolkit could overlook them. Imagine the surprise when the stakeholder feels those unspoken requirements are being ignored. Sometimes, the requirements could be as simple as having a dedicated parking space when they visit or work at your office, or as complex as wanting a project environment where empathetic listening and transparent communication are the norm. Train your PMs to seek out unspoken requirements.
Add EI to the Stakeholder Management Plan.
Usually, the stakeholder management plan is a table with the name of each stakeholder, notes about their contact information, their requirements, the best way to work with or communicate with them, and how the PM plans to “manage” them. What if the bit about managing them is labeled, “How to Develop and Maintain the Relationship”? What if there is a column or two about the stakeholder as a person? What if the PM includes what they like or don’t like; their hobbies; personal information they have revealed about themselves or their families; and even behavioral style or preferences? Help your PMs make this mind shift.
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