The importance of building relationships as a project manager

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Being a project manager in an organization is not an easy task. Day after day, you try to steer others to achieve the project goals. Often, you do this with limited resources at your disposal, those in your project team have to do the work of more than one person to achieve the goals, unless you have your resource management in order, but that's another blog topic. So what does it turn out to be? If you haven't built strong relationships throughout the organization, you're going to come up short. You'll have a significantly harder time achieving goals and keeping stakeholders happy.

By building strong relationships, we find it easier to work together and get things done through the help of others. Something every project manager should do. It's harder to approach someone who is already very busy if you haven't made the effort to build a relationship with them. This is because as humans, we tend to help those who have taken the time to get to know us and with whom we have already built a relationship.

Building relationships as a business imperative

Often the benefits of good relationships in the workplace are seen as a vague concept. It would just be much wiser to see relationship building as a business necessity. After all, it has a tangible impact on the organization.

In addition to the business relationship you enter into with your team, it is also important to cross the boundary of formality. Showing genuine interest in colleagues and making time to build up a relationship really contributes to greater understanding and tolerance, and therefore confidence in mutual interests within the project.  

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."

George Bernard Shaw 

By building strong relationships, you are generally more likely to have easy, open and honest communication. Everyone can freely discuss and debate new ideas and innovations with the confidence that you will receive honest feedback in return. It also facilitates faster decision-making because there are fewer hidden agendas within the team.

Mutual relationships create trust

The trust this creates in a project management team usually serves two purposes. It allows you to fully concentrate on what you need to do and you don't have to constantly create support for communication, you know what you have in common. Trust creates a distraction-free environment, which also has a positive impact on people's overall emotional and mental well-being. This ultimately makes the team more productive. The second function is to enable people to trust others. For a project manager and team member, this means working effectively in a collaborative environment where ideas and knowledge are shared openly.

Best practices for building relationships within the project team

It doesn't take much effort to build strong relationships with others - try these best practice steps to build relationships with people within your own organization:

  • Spend time in the morning at the (virtual) coffee machine or in the cafeteria catching up with people;
  • Don't stay glued to your desk all day, leave your workplace and take a walk with a colleague at a safe distance;
  • In addition to the regular project communication channels, create a channel for off-topic/informal messages;
  • Talk to others about projects you are currently working on, or projects you would like to see launched - ask for their support;
  • Contribute to the company newsletter or blog, this will create brand awareness and trigger internal communication;
  • Have you read an interesting article? Share it with someone in the office who may find it valuable.

In short, think of the people around you, if everyone feels comfortable this will have a positive impact on the projects that are run at that time and in the future.

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