As professionals – hopefully very competent professionals – it’s always important that we have a high degree of confidence in our own skills and abilities to deliver. Especially our ability to deliver in pressure situations. I’m not saying project managers should be narcissists…but maybe it doesn’t hurt if you’re fairly close to falling into that category.The business world is usually not for the very timid or faint of heart. If we head into projects, business initiatives or strategic undertakings with less than 110% confidence in our own ability to deliver – or at least the appearance thereof – our competition is likely to eat us for lunch, figuratively speaking, of course.So when we are called out by our colleagues on something – maybe even just some helpful advice from an observation – we may be taken aback, we may get defensive, we may deflect the remark by shooting something meaningless but hurtful back at them or we may just plain ‘unfriend’ them in our minds and have little or nothing to do with them in our professional lives going forward…much like the petty arguments my mom used to have with my aunts when they would go years without speaking. Crazy and childish, but it happens.There’s a bible verse that goes like this…”first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”In reality, we need to not shoot back at these often very well meaning individuals. We need to take what they are saying for what it is…an unbiased observation and something we should probably look into in ourselves and our behaviors and probably improve our way of doing whatever we may be doing inefficiently. If they felt strongly enough about it to say something to us, then it just may be important enough for us to take heed.
We should probably listen to this information we’ve been given and take it for what it likely is …. helpful, constructive advice. Don’t assume you’re perfect and everyone else is wrong. I’ve been there enough and it has taken me time to recognize advice for what it actually is and to not think of it as criticism or to immediately think the other person is wrong. I must admit – I’m still not very good at receiving this information – just ask my wife – but I am getting there.SummaryHere’s my bottom line on this. Like it or not, take advantage of it or not…the project manager is in a powerful position. If you’re a good confident leader as the project manager, the you can really be the most influential and powerful person on the project. And you really should be. But be able to take feedback, criticism, corrective suggestions. It’s important as we should never be standoff-ish to our customer or colleagues or, heaven forbid, our senior leadership. Listen well and be open and appreciative to such feedback – you’re likely to come out of it a better leader than you were before.