businessman drawing a line from point A to point B (selective focus)

This morning I attended a PMI Minnesota chapter breakfast. The presenter, Gus Broman, spoke about the importance of communication in project management. Gus gave a good talk and as usual with PMI events, there was good discussion among the attendees.

Although it wasn’t a big focus of Gus’s talk, one point he mentioned was being direct. After he mentioned this, I dwelled on how important it has been for me as a project manager to be direct. The tendency for new project managers, and I’ve been guilty of this, is to not be direct.

We sugar coat it when problems arise, or we delay giving bad news. We do this for many reasons. We want to be nice. We don’t want to deliver bad news. We want people to like us, etc.

The problem is, the more you delay or sugar coat bad news, the more you hurt your project. None of us like delivering uncomfortable news, but we have an ethical obligation to be direct.

Project management is all about communication, and it’s important to be clear and concise. Good communication is about not leaving any room for misinterpretation. As a project manager, you need to manage down and up, and your communication needs to be crystal clear.

The longer I work as a project manager, the more clear it becomes to me that I have to be direct. Being direct and candid with your team members and leadership gets everyone on the same page.

So be professional and tactful, but be direct. Don’t worry about hurting feelings, they’ll get over it.

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