Why doesn’t anyone listen to me?

We are often given the assignment to manage a project and find ourselves struggling to keep our team moving forward.

NEMT President Linda Allard

In large organizations we can often find ourselves needing the help of people we have no authority over. Worse, we may find ourselves managing someone who we report to.

Often the dynamics of the organization make us feel like no one is listening to us. There are some simple things you can do to start your project off with every team member on board.

When making the announcement, be sure the sponsor clearly defines the project and your authority to your team. If no one understands that you are in charge and that it is your responsibility to get it done, you may find yourself struggling to meet your deadlines.

The team also needs to clearly understand the project and why it is important to your organization. As children, when our parents told us “because I said so” to get us to do something, we didn’t like it. As adults we still don’t like being told to do things without understanding why, especially if it will require a lot of our time.

Involve the team in setting up your communications plan. This step is critically important to those who may not work with you on a regular basis. Their communication style may be totally different from yours.

Working together to create the plan will help keep information flowing effectively. Create small tasks in your project plan that will be easy to track and easy to complete. Having your team help you develop these tasks will create a sense of ownership by everyone on the project. You will also start to understand what pieces of the project may be harder to complete during this process, which will help you to avoid bottlenecks.

Make sure the team sees the chart of the project so they understand how they fit in and what will happen to the timeline of the project if they don’t complete their parts on time. If there is float time in their deadlines, allow them to set their own schedule but make sure everyone understands that they must make the deadlines they set.

Have regular meetings with the teams that show open tasks. Update the entire group even if their particular tasks are not due.

To show you respect their time, you can also excuse those not involved in tasks from meetings or calls where you will be discussing those tasks. Make sure to send them updates so they are aware of the project’s progress.

Lastly, develop a good relationship with your sponsor. You may need them to help you during the project if you have organizational issues.

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About Linda Allard

Linda Allard is the president of NEMT.
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