Thinking about words in project management contexts that you use every day as a project manager is probably not something that you have given serious consideration to, but perhaps it should be. As with anything in life, the words that you use matter, and the wrong word can hold far more power than you might imagine. Words have the power to boost a person’s confidence, destroy opportunities and even reinforce beliefs.
A project management course like APM PFQ will help you understand the essential skills of day-to-day project management, but experts at Parallel Project Management Training believe it is also important to consider how you select your words to create the right environment, something which will help you to be more successful as a project manager.
If the words you choose on a regular basis are negative ones, then there is a good chance that your attitude towards your work will also be negative. There is a knock-on effect of continually using negative words as a project manager about the project you are doing, and this is that your team members will also adopt negative beliefs about the project. This will ultimately lead to negative outcomes, even in those instances where a positive one may well have been possible for your project.
Words like “can’t”, for example, “We can’t do that”. What you need to be looking at is why you think something isn’t possible, and rather than abandoning it look for alternative solutions. As a project team, you should be brainstorming to see what other ways there are for solving a problem.
“It won’t work.” If this is your response to a problem and there is no discussion about why something won’t work and how you might be able to solve it, again, you are accepting defeat without really trying. This means that all of the work you have accomplished to this point in the project is wasted. Project management isn’t always linear. Your project plan should allow for those things that don’t go to plan and give you the opportunity to look for alternative ways in which you can tackle things.
A project that has not reached its desired outcome is an unsuccessful one and should never be referred to as a failure. Even a project that has been unsuccessful will have taught your project team a number of things, and if you have documented all of the steps that you have taken, then this can be used in the future to help you improve your processes and even see what you might need to avoid this “failure” should be seen as a learning tool that can help you improve in the future.
Finally, as a project manager, you need to ensure that your project team know you are available when a problem arises. Communication is one of the single most important skills you have, and this means being able to listen as well as speak effectively. Never say that you are too busy to listen to the concerns of a team member. If you are busy, suggest a quick meeting at a more appropriate time so that you can focus on listening