Managing Difficult Stakeholders

1 Managing Difficult Stakeholders Project HR & Stakeholder Mng - Full Term (BADM-628-M20) Muneeb Elahi Mushtaq The University of Cumberlands, Tom G. Javarinis. 10/10/2023
2 Introduction A stakeholder is an individual or group with a vested interest in a project. They can have a significant impact on the success or failure of a project. While most stakeholders are supportive and cooperative, some may be difficult to work with (Roeder, 2013). As a project manager, knowing how to handle and work with difficult stakeholders is crucial to ensuring a project's smooth progress and success. In this essay, I will discuss some strategies and approaches a project manager can take to manage and work with challenging stakeholders effectively. Identify the Root Cause of Difficult Behavior The first step in managing a problematic stakeholder is identifying their behavior's root cause. There could be various reasons for a stakeholder's involvement, such as personal agendas, lack of understanding, or conflicting priorities (El Khatib et al., 2022). Identifying the cause will help the project manager understand the stakeholder's perspective and find a way to address their concerns. Establish Effective Communication Communication is vital in any project and becomes even more crucial when dealing with difficult stakeholders. It is essential to establish effective communication with them from the beginning of the project (El Khatib et al., 2022). This means meeting regularly to discuss progress and any issues, keeping stakeholders informed about project updates, and actively listening to their concerns. When stakeholders feel that their opinions are valued and their voices are heard, they are more likely to cooperate and become more accessible to work with. Build a relationship Building a positive relationship with stakeholders is vital in dealing with challenging behavior. A project manager should aim to establish a rapport with stakeholders based on trust
3 and mutual respect. This can be achieved by taking the time to understand their individual needs and concerns, being empathetic, and finding common ground (El Khatib et al., 2022). A good relationship can help diffuse tension and increase collaboration, leading to a more productive working relationship. Involve Stakeholders in Decision-making Stakeholders are more challenging when they feel excluded from decision-making (El Khatib et al., 2022). Project managers should ensure stakeholders are involved in decision- making to mitigate this issue. This will give stakeholders a sense of ownership and involvement in the project, making them more invested in its success. Involving stakeholders in decision- making can also provide valuable insights and perspectives that benefit the project. Set Clear Expectations One of the reasons stakeholders can become problematic is when their expectations are not met. A project manager should ensure all stakeholders understand the project scope, goals, timelines, and roles (Larsson & Larsson, 2020). This will help manage their expectations and avoid misunderstandings that may lead to complex behavior. Setting clear expectations can also help hold stakeholders accountable for their actions and responsibilities. Manage conflict effectively Difficult stakeholders may bring about conflict in a project. As a project manager, addressing disputes promptly and effectively is essential. This includes acknowledging and understanding the source of the competition, remaining calm and professional, and actively listening to all parties involved (Lehtinen & Aaltonen, 2020). A project manager should aim to find a resolution that satisfies all parties while keeping the project goals and objectives in mind. Utilize the Power of Influence
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