I struggle sometimes with newer generation tropes, such as the use of social networks, I’m sure nobody knows what is the proper etiquette to post, if any. Constant communication is the core activity if you want to be a Happy Project Manager, there’s no such thing as too much communication. I’m sure we all belong to multiple WhatsApp groups and mute them very often, same with our Facebook friends. How about those pompous, or extremely and unnecessarily long positions everybody display on LinkedIn? Senior Master Specialists. I bet muting/unfollow/ignoring is the most used feature in our phones and computers, because our friends bore us, send useless information, unoriginal jokes stolen from the internet, memes and pictures of their breakfast.
The bad news is that we exercise this ignoring feature too much and then at some point we start ignoring people in real life. Sadly, this may affect our relation with our project team members, partners, bosses, and even customers. That will not make you a Happy Project Manager.
Why do we start ignoring certain people?
After lots of years, I realized that we get tired of the “One-Note” “One Dimensional” characters. In Movies, we can see these guys: The Big Bad, the super good hero, the sidekick, the romantic, the jerkass, the red shirts, the racist tokens etc. They are predictable and they exist only as plot devices. You know every single time how they are going to behave. Now, in Project Management we also have these kind of “One Note” characters and every time they send you an email, call you or talk to you, you will know the outcome. We have the “No-can-do” guy, that keeps telling you things can’t be done, will always come to you with a problem that has no solution. The “Yes-man” will get you in trouble and create scope creep. The “All-is-bad” will give you lukewarm answers all the time. The “I-Told-You” knew what was going to happen, but never raised the issue. The “All-is-Good” guy will never face any problems, you will. The “Mysterious/Alien/Bad Luck” guy will blame everything but him; will blame his computer, the weather, hidden bugs, aliens, the previous guy or the customer.
How can we avoid being ignored? How can you be a Happy Project Manager and listen carefully and be listened?
1. Be sure that every time you communicate, you are sending valuable information. Otherwise people will ignore you.
2. Don’t be a One-Note character, exercise judgement and an objective point of view, if things are bad, find a way to solve them, communicate and learn from the experience. If things are going fine, be cautious.
3. Unmute your friends.