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As project leaders, often we are so focussed on getting our team through the woods to deliver our project on time and on budge and keeping the client happyt. You can plan to your hearts content, look at the Gantt chart, write your status notes. These are the administrative tasks that managers often have to do, however just because you’re organized and you’re on top of that doesn’t mean that you are being effective. If you find yourself working overtime on those things, either you have too many projects on the go, or else you don’t have the other skills to help you through this all. Dont’ fret. You can learn these things.
There are two skills to engage in that will help your leadership.
What is persuasion? Well it’s more than communication. You probably do that well enough, but persuasion is something different altogether. Often it is associated with campaigning or sales pitches, and if you’re doing it wrong than it might feel inauthentic to you.
Robert Cialdini, has a book called Influence and refers to some of the things that you will need in your toolkit. They are called “Weapons of Influence”. They are:
- Reciprocity – If you do something nice for someone then they will feel compelled to do something nice for you.
- Commitment and consistency – If you commit to something (solving a problem, saying that you were going to do something) and you put that in writing, and then you deliver it consistently, then this builds trust.
- Social Proof – People base their actions and beliefs on what others believe. This is why if you were referred by a friend to a position, you’ll usually get it. Likewise if you have people that you work with vouching for you, then chances are, you’ll have a better chance to be known and trusted.
- Liking – Are you likeable? People say yes to people that they like. Not only do you have to look like you know what you’re doing, but you also have to be somewhat likeable. You catch more bees with honey PM. Lead light but firm.
- Authority – Do you have a high level responsibility and authority, or are you better described as project administrator or coordinator.
- Scarcity – When something has a limited availability, people assign it more value.. “You will lose $3000” vs. “You will save $3000” and when you communicate with others, you can frame your conversations with this in mine.
The good thing about negotiation is that there are so many opportunities in life to negotiatate Every relationship, job, car purchase, friend and family favors. You negotiate on a daily basis. If you realize this and go in with the mindset of negotiation on the outset on a project, you’ll feel that things are less ridged.
Here’s a short list of books to read on the subject.
- Getting to Yes – William Ury
- Everyday Negotiation – Deborah M. Kolb and Judith Williams
- Negotiation by Caring, but not THAT Much – Herb Cohen
Negotiation is like a muscle that can be worked on, but giving it practice and attention is not only great for leading projects, but your life in general. As with other things, it helps to do some prep.
- Write down all of the things that create value prior to negotiation. Know your Best alternative to a negotiated agreement.
- Stay upbeat and cool. Remember that every conversation is just that, a conversation.
- Remember that it’s in both perties of our interests to arrive to our common goal.
- Be flexible and consider tangible and partial alternatives.
- Don’t care so much that you become rigid or upset.
Try to remember this diagram from Seth Godins Linchpin and try to strike a balance in your bargaining style. It doesn’t have to be a hard or soft negotiation, but think of it as Problem Solving where you’re just trying to come to an agreement.
As a leader, your project’s success often depends upon your ability to influence, persuade, and negotiate with team member and stakeholders at all levels engaged and involved.