Tom Jager is professional blogger. He works at Awriter. He has degree in Law and English literature. Tom has written numerous articles/online journals.
A project manager or a leader is much more than 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 with managers who can foster a deep connection with their stakeholders have a significant competitive advantage.
By maintaining good relationships, one lays the groundwork for the creation of an atmosphere of support and trust as well as the establishment of a cooperation network. As a result, the organization can anticipate potential problems and manage stakeholders' expectations more effectively.
Organizations solidify their long-term success by learning and embracing critical strategies for building and strengthening relationships with stakeholders.
Are you looking to accomplish the same as well? Here are some great strategies for you.
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.
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. Trust works both ways: if you don’t trust a person, he or she will not trust you.
This rule applies to all relationships: by listening and showing interest in others, you help them be more open and 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 the position of stakeholders. Ask their opinion. Make eye contact. Consider them friends. You can speak up about your position and agenda when you understand why they think this way.
Stakeholders appreciate it when project managers and leaders take responsibility for their errors and resolve issues efficiently. The ability to change a situation for the better and eliminate negative consequences is very valuable when building and maintaining good relationships with them.
Of course, no one knows how a project will perform and what future challenges await. Stakeholders understand that. They are really interested in the response of the managers and leaders to these challenges.
It is the duty of project managers and leaders to inform stakeholders about the performance of the company. Presenting 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. “It’s better to inform them right away if a problem emerges.”
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.
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 other interests.
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.
Effective stakeholder relationship management (SRM) goes beyond influencing decisions and actions to achieve short-term goals. Instead, it will create a successful stakeholder engagement plan with a proactive mindset to balance the organization's interests and stakeholders. A recent survey has revealed that only 23% of stakeholders and project managers are aligned at the end of the project timeline.
Various organizations with large numbers of stakeholders at all levels and long/complex projects depend on specialized Stakeholder relationship management platforms to manage and centralize all the engagement activities with greater efficiency. It will give you a customizable workspace where you manage every input from the stakeholders and key individuals in the project.
Besides organizing processes and tasks into perfect workflows, it will also provide automated reminders, task handoffs, and approval times to give you more time to work on the project outcome. In addition, certain stakeholder relationship management platforms can be integrated with leading business apps, including Slack, Google Drive, Trello, and Microsoft 365.
With the SRM platform, you can see any potential downsides as they occur and can correct the workflow through direct communication. It aids in the management of all four types of project communications, such as performance, change, knowledge, and awareness, in a single space, ensuring every collaboration with stakeholders carry out with improved transparency.
Some of the key features of the best stakeholder management platform should have as follows,
Tracking – Keep track of problems or concerns raised to ensure that nothing slips through the gaps.
Mapping – Aiding in innovative relationship mapping to interconnect the stakeholders and the roles they possess
AI tools – Leverage the advancements in machine learning to gain insights into stakeholder engagement.
Reporting – Provide up-to-date information to the leaders and stakeholders.
Advanced analytics – Analytical tools used to engage deep into the data to understand better the results of each method employed in the project lifecycle.
Engagement – Encourage every stakeholder to participate and incorporate meaningful project contributions.
Compliance – Making sure that the whole team stays and works by the laws, agreements, and regulations.
Once you have got a stakeholder for your project, it is important to maintain communication to drive the engagement rate. However, they also have jobs and other tasks to focus on. Therefore, you need to be proactive and keep your message short and sharp, highlighting the ultimate results of your efforts.
It is challenging to get hold of the stakeholders for meetings, especially those who hold key positions at the executive level.
However, it is important to keep them informed about your decisions. If the respective stakeholder group is small, you can schedule periodic or pre-organized one-on-one meetings with them.
Similar to personal meetings, you can also add brainstorming sessions to collaborate with the stakeholders to make them a significant part of the process. Moreover, such an initiative creates a strong relationship and keeps you and the stakeholders on the same page. It will allow you to identify any potential issues on the project and solve them.
In addition, you can opt for different communication modes to update the stakeholders with the latest progress.
Compose Newsletter – Newsletters are an effective way to keep the stakeholders engaged and informed about the project. It will let them know about your decisions and why you choose them. This will increase their trust in your organization. In a nutshell, it is vital to spend time in engaging newsletters that present accurate project information in an easy-to-understand structure.
Progress emails – If you are on a big project and making quick progress, it's time to try sending out a dedicated and formatted email regarding every progress. Make it simple and precise to read with a chart or bulletin points so stakeholders can review it easily.
There are many strategies that can be employed to build and strengthen relationships with stakeholders. As mentioned above, effective communication skills are critical because they are the key to good understanding and trust.
Trust is integral to the process if you are focused on building positive stakeholder relationships. Here are some ways to achieve it – research your stakeholders, analyze their history with engagement, ask questions to discover what is important to them, be honest and transparent about what they can expect from you, follow up with them on every upgrade and be proactive with them to seek out the possible and productive solutions.
Improving stakeholder relationships will open the biggest door to career growth. Here are some ways to effectively keep them aligned and grow the collaboration.
Stakeholder engagement and management are the most important aspects of successful project completion.
It involves various ways to attract and align individuals or organizations who are interested or affected by a project or might affect the project's outcome. Some of the ways to bring stakeholders together in decision-making and execution of projects are,