“The soft stuff is the hard stuff and the hard stuff is the easy stuff”
Active listening is hearing what someone is really trying to convey, rather than just the meaning of the words they are speaking – Do what I mean, not what I say
There are 3 levels of active listening:
Level 1: Internal listening
We hear the words being spoken, and although we may be very attentive, we interpret them through our own lens. When listening, we are thinking “How is this going to affect me” and miss the speaker’s real message.
Level 2: Focused listening
When listening we let go of our own thoughts and put ourselves in the mind of the speaker. We empathize with their thoughts, experience and emotions as they tell us about the situation.
Level 3: Global listening
We build on the approach in level 2, adding a higher level of awareness, like the antennae function, to pick up on the subtle physical & environmental indicators. These indicators can include the speaker’s movements or posture, their energy level, and the atmosphere or vibe in the room. We notice factors like whether the speaker is voicing the information openly in front of others or privately, the mannerism of others who are within earshot and many other clues to help us understand a fuller context of the information being shared.
In the absence of direct authority, what challenges does a project manager face when trying to influence the behavior of team members?
- Developing active commitment and accountability among team members without coercive obedience or compliance
- Building trust and persuasion in a project team to gain power
- Using personal authority and networking to negotiate resources
How can a project manager gain the authority required to achieve these goals?
- Use the power of superior knowledge and information about the project
- Understand the power and authority structure in the organization and use it to the team’s advantage
- Build positive relationships and networks with stakeholders
- Build cooperation and align team effort through mutual trust and credibility
- Create self-managed teams for less managing and more accountability