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CHALLENGING STAKEHOLDERS: HOW TO EFFECTIVELY MANAGE STAKEHOLDERS

Friday 19th January 2018

A lot of our clients ask for candidates with strong stakeholder management skills, in particular Project Managers and Business Analysts, but what does this actually mean? Here Senior Consultant Kelly explains how to manage stakeholder expectations. Read more below...


When candidates say “I am confident when dealing with difficult stakeholders” or “I have strong stakeholder management skills”, what is it that you are actually doing?
 
What is it that you are doing to effectively manage your stakeholders? 

MANAGE EXPECTATIONS
Effectively managing expectations can play a significant part in building the relationship with stakeholders. If everyone knows where they are, what the timeframes are and what the potential risks and challenges are, the less likely something will take them by surprise and potentially cause conflict.

Everyone has difference priorities and deadlines, but my keeping all parties updated and managing expectations allows them to plan effectively around the project or impediments.

COMMUNICATIONS 
Agreeing on the best method of communication from the outset makes sure that everyone is clear on the best form of contacting each member of the team, whether that be phone, email, IM or video conferencing. 

However, nothing replaces face to face communication when it comes to building relationships and managing stakeholders

DEMONSTRATE YOU ARE IN CONTROL AND BUILD TRUST
Stakeholder engagement is a must when you are working on any project, but demonstrating that you are in control throughout the process is just as important. This come from you understanding the project details and being able to articulate and communicate these to the stakeholders. 

Stakeholders want to feel confident in your ability when they are engaging with you, if they do not this can cause problems and not allow you the space to do your job. 

EMPATHISE, INFLUENCE AND CHALLENGE
Having the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is a key part of the process, it is crucial to the success or failure of the project. As well as empathy, it is important to be able to influence and challenge Stakeholders when necessary, they do not always get to see everyone else’s challenges and priorities.
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