A project manager or a leader is much more than just someone who comes up with an implementation plan and oversees all activities. For example, these professionals need to be skillful in communication and relationship building because the job involves doing that a lot.
The ability to build long-term and trusting relationships with stakeholders is an essential element that defines the success of project managers and leaders. A wide range of stakeholders directly influences your business, whether you like it or not.
In the contemporary interconnected business world, companies that have managers who are able to foster a deep level of connection with their stakeholders have a significant competitive advantage.
Benefits of Having Good Relationship with Stakeholders
By maintaining good relationships, one lays the groundwork for the creation of an atmosphere of support and trust as well as the establishment of cooperation network. As the result, the organization can anticipate potential problems and manage expectations of stakeholders more effectively.
By learning and embracing critical strategies of building and strengthening relationships with stakeholders, organizations solidify their long-term success.
Are you looking to accomplish the same as well? Here are some great strategies for you.
Strategies for Strengthening Relationships with Stakeholders
Before we get to the actual strategies, there is one vitally important thing you need to remember when asking yourself how to achieve them: communication! It is the key to every strategy described below.
- Build Trust
This one may seem pretty obvious but it’s a lot more difficult to achieve than most people think. Even a single breach of trust might ruin good relationships with stakeholders. Building them from scratch might not even be possible, so it’s better to stick with openness and honesty.
To ensure that your relationships with stakeholders are built on trust, give them a reason to trust you. For example, you should always speak openly and avoid speaking about people behind their backs. The thing is, trust works both ways: if you don’t trust a person, he or she will not trust you.
- Reclaiming trust can take years, so it’s better never to breach it
- Trust works both ways
- Speak openly and don’t speak behind someone’s back
- Seek first to understand before being understood
This rule applies to all relationships: by listening and showing interest in others, you help them to be more open and more interested in what you have to say. If you prefer not to listen because you’re in charge, prepare yourself for some misunderstandings, tense relationships, and even conflicts.
To avoid that, do your best to engage and gain a deep understanding of position of stakeholders. Ask their opinion. Make eye contact. Consider them friends. When you understand why they think this way, you can speak up about your position and agenda.
- Invest time and effort in understanding stakeholders
- Engage and understand their position
- Listen and ask questions
- Take responsibility for your actions
Stakeholders appreciate it when project managers and leaders assume responsibility for their errors and resolve issues in an efficient way. The ability to change a situation for the better and eliminate negative consequences is something very valuable when it comes to building and maintaining good relationships with them.
Of course, not one knows how a project will perform and what challenges are waiting in the future. Stakeholders understand that. What they are really interested in is the response of the managers and leaders to these challenges.
- Take responsibility for your actions to gain respect of stakeholders
- Look for effective and durable solutions to problems faced by them
- Be honest and open about project progress
It is a duty of project managers and leaders to inform stakeholders about the performance of the company. Presenting an inaccurate information in this case means a breach of trust, and we already know what happens after that.
Always provide accurate and reliable information to avoid ruining good relationships. Don’t feel pressured to agree to unreasonable demands and never overpromise. If a project encounters some issues, be open about them. “Years of working in an essay writing service have taught me that hiding something from stakeholders can become a huge problem if that something grows,” says Mark Whittaker, a project manager. “Tt’s better to inform them right away is a problem emerged.”
Your stakeholders will appreciate and respect you for being open and honest. Moreover, they will be more willing to help before the situation goes out of control.
- Be honest because painting the picture rosier may get out of control very fast
- Have courage to talk openly about issues
- Don’t overpromise and agree on unreasonable offers
- Maintain a positive mental attitude and don’t be afraid to reveal yourself
A positive attitude is great to have in the modern fast-changing business environment. Your stakeholders may not always radiate positive energy but you certainly should. It’ll show them that you are confident because you are in your comfort zone.
Don’t be afraid to joke and show yourself as a human with history, unique features, and interests. Thus, you’ll reveal yourself to the people you interact with every day, and they will appreciate it. For example, you can talk about music, food, sports, or any other interests you have.
These conversations with stakeholders will make you more likable and interesting. Eventually, working with you will become a fun and engaging thing to have to do.
The Bottom Line
There are many strategies that can be employed to build and strengthen relationships with stakeholders. As it was mentioned above, having effective communication skills is critical because they are the key to good understanding and trust.