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Why Project Managers Must Build Strong Relationships

Strong Relationships

Being a project manager in an organization is hardly an easy job. You spend your days trying to get others in the business to help you reach your goals – deliver that project on time, within budget and within the quality expectations of the stakeholders. And frequently you are doing all of this with limited resources at your disposal which means those on the team may be doing the work of more than one team member to achieve those goals. Here’s a secret – if you haven’t built strong relationships throughout the organization, you are out of luck. You are going to have a harder time achieving your goals and keeping your stakeholders happy.

I often find that one of the biggest challenges project managers within my clients have is in building relationships throughout the business. I hear many excuses – with the most popular being: “I don’t have the time with all the projects I’m expected to run” and “I’m just not comfortable trying to build relationships with people. I wouldn’t even know how to go about it. It would seem so phony.”

Why Build Strong Relationships

By building strong relationships you’ll find it much easier to:

  • Work with others to accomplish the goals/objectives of the project – even when timelines are short
  • Get help when you need it such as data/reports to make decisions or asking someone to pitch in to resolve a problem on a project
  • Understand the business impact behind that project you have undertaken
  • Get resources for your projects by showing how the project will enable a particular department (from whom you need resources) to meet their own goals or address challenges
  • Be able to more effectively make the case to the leaders when you need additional resources or a longer timeline for a project to ensure success

By building strong relationships we find it easier to get things done through others…something every project manager must do. It’s difficult to approach someone to work on an initiative with you – when they have lots of other tasks to do including their “day job” – when you haven’t bothered to establish a relationship with them. We tend to help those who have taken the time to get to know us.

Best Practices for Building Strong Relationships

It doesn’t take much of an effort to build strong relationships with others – try these best practice steps to begin to build relationships with folks within your organization:

  • Ask a department head if you can sit in one of their department meetings to learn about their challenges (the projects you take on may just help them to overcome one of their challenges)
  • Spend time at the coffee machine or in the café in the morning to catch up with folks
  • Get out of your office and have lunch with a colleague
  • Talk with others about projects you are working on currently, or projects you’d like to see launched – ask for their support
  • Contribute to the company newsletter or blog
  • Read an interesting article? Share it with someone in the office who will find it of value

By taking just 30 minutes out of each day, you can begin to establish strong relationships with others in the organization; making your job a bit easier to accomplish.
What can you do to get started building relationships today?

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