Always have courage to speak up, if and when something is important enough not to be kept quiet about. Direct confrontation is often better than sweeping challenges under a rug. Just make sure to prepare well: all communication is negotiation. The better you are at negotiating, the easier it gets to communicate and to make progress towards a common goal. If someone is blocking communication and ignoring you there is very little you can do except for focusing upon yourself and your goals. Walking away from a specific situation is sometimes the best thing you can do. When someone disrespects you, the problematic behavior starts with them. Do not give in to people who manipulate.
If your counterpart is unable to rise up to a respectful way of communication, cut ties. They will come back once they have grown up to be able to communicate respectfully and if not, count your blessings. You do not need disrespectful or manipulative people in your inner circle, or around you at all for that matter. Although it is a fact that social interactions take place everywhere, and you will always encounter different types of people with different kinds of personalities.
Quite frankly, respect in itself does NOT have to be earned. Of course, an individual can be respected for her/his specific achievements, qualifications or position in life. We can respect the elderly for their life experiences and a hopefully grown wisdom during their lengthy lives. Respect is often culturally related, or tied to organizational hierarchies although it may in fact be a threat to democracy if someone is being respected only for their position. Position in itself should not alone be tied to respect. In democracies, people in positions of authority MUST be approachable and we must at all times have the opportunity to question things of importance. The ME TOO-movement that led to thousands of girls and women (and, some men too!) to finally speaking up about for instance occurred discrimination and sexual harassment is a good example of how common disrespectful behavior is even in (Western) democracies.
Every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their material status or position in life.
Showing respect only to people with influence or those with a high social status is endangering both our personal development as human beings, as well as a democratic society where everyone should have an equal voice, and an equal right to express opinion without fear of various threats. This is a topic that can and should be discussed from many different angles and with many different perspectives. We know that restrictions in terms of freedom of speech and having to fear expressing your opinions are in fact commonly violated human rights in most parts of the world.
In interpersonal relationships, a lack of respect usually includes behaviors whereby one individual constantly breaks or pushes another person´s boundaries. This can relate to the fact that the individual in general is unaware of what is respectful behavior and what is not, a complete lack of awareness and a high amount of ignorance for the well-being of other human beings, or quite frankly the fact that certain types of personalities actually do enjoy to push and to break boundaries on purpose just to see how far they can get with their manipulative behavior. This is unfortunately not something that only children do. Many adults, unless taught how to behave and kept in place through consistent discipline and self-management, are experts at breaking and pushing boundaries. Such behaviors must never be tolerated.
Disrespectful behavior and a disregard for, or a violation of, another individual´s boundaries can be identified through following examples:
– Poor interpersonal communication and/or a complete ignorance of someone else´s needs or wants.
– Self-centeredness and one-sided relationships. A lack of interest in other human beings. (Only seeing oneself).
– Poor or non-existing listening skills. Many people are unfortunately poor listeners. They have a constant need to express their opinions and make themselves heard without ever hearing what other people have to say.
– Not responding. Not responding to e-mails, texts, or phone calls. Not calling back. If someone does this to you, leave them alone.
– Putting words in someone else´s mouth. Thinking you know what is best for them. Making decisions for other people without asking them or caring about their opinion.
– Belittling or minimizing someone else´s accomplishments or experiences.
– Gaslighting behavior.
– Pretending to be stupid or asking you to behave in their preferred way (remember that you are an individual, not an extension of anyone else! Nor are you anyone´s puppy or slave.
– Bullying, gossiping and spreading rumours. You can be certain of the fact that people who gossip about other people to you are also doing this behind your back.
– General manipulative behaviors, such as sugar coating the truth or lying (to your face), constantly making fun of you – especially about sensitive matters that they know are of importance to you, cynical comments and sarcasm directed at you, and at your expense. If you speak up about these, they come up with explanations and accuse you of being overly sensitive or that you are imagining things (gaslighting).
Many disrespectful and manipulative behaviors and tactics can be so subtle and slowly creep into any relationship that we fail to take action or notice the red flags. The better you know what is appropriate and what is inappropriate behavior and communication, the faster can you take action and terminate unwanted behaviors or even the whole relationship.
Unfortunately, you cannot force people to respect you but you can refuse to be disrespected!
Knowing your boundaries and not giving your power away to other people is the best way to stay intact from toxic or manipulative behavior. Self-respect and knowing one´s worth as a human being are the easiest and fastest ways of earning other people´s respect too. Confident people know how to say no. Confident people are assertive. Confident people speak up. Confident people know their truth. Confident people do not get swayed easily, although they know how to bend and stay flexible if appropriate.
I found this podcast channel, The Little Shaman Healing, on YouTube some time ago while searching for ways of coping and dealing with challenging individuals. Let us face the facts and reality: we all meet them during our lives – people who seem to contradict with just about everything we do or say. Without labeling or diagnosing anyone (which is not our task), the smartest thing we can do in situations like these is to not get involved in any arguments with the individual(s) that are contradicting us. Unless it is an official debate, of course, although official debates do have rules and procedures as well. There is no point in getting involved in useless arguments, the purpose of which is only to create chaos and conflict.
While all of us may at times be contradictory to the ideas, opinions and thoughts of other individuals, that does not hinder us from listening to, and taking into consideration thoughts that differ from our own. It is in fact healthy to be able to open up to different, or even opposite ideas and thoughts. It is another thing when someone, on purpose, contradicts to everything we have to say, or everything we do. That is why ignoring this kind of behavior is the smartest thing you can do. Why waste your time on individuals who intend to hinder, or even slow down, your progress by literally sabotaging everything you do or say? Let their opinions be just opinions, and know how to distinguish between facts and opinions.
If and when you have experienced contradictory behavior, especially when this happens continuously from the same individual, you know exactly what it signifies and how you should deal with it: ignore it, and do not engage in any arguments or conversations with the individual in question if possible. It simply does not lead anywhere. Focus on your own career, goals, and life and minimize the energy you invest in individuals whose sole purpose seems to be to contradict everything you do and say. It is a waste of time.
Listen to The Little Shaman Healing´s podcast about the topic:
If you are an individual seeking to make a positive difference in your environment, you have to admit that you have both climbed mountains and descended into deep valleys, sometimes questioning whether your attitude really does make a difference.
No matter what you may have been through in your life, in your career, you must realize that everything has served its purpose. Without these valuable experiences, you would be only half as knowledgeable, so instead of mourning and remaining paralyzed, transform your valuable lessons into powerful wisdom and use it not only to your personal advantage, but also to become a positive role model for others.
Your Enthusiasm will be Infectious, stimulating and attractive to others. They will love you for it. They will go for you, and with you. (Norman Vincent Peale)
However, make sure to keep a few important things in mind when creating a winning leadership mentality for yourself, including:
1. Successful leaders compete only against themselves, not against others. Most of all, successful leaders are gentle toward themselves, and toward others.
Life, and career, is no competition with people around you. Nor is it a competition with yourself, however ambitious and determined you are. Do not make your life a constant competition. Focus rather on practicing gentleness towards yourself and towards others, and make it a regular exercise to find a positive balance between challenging yourself, and letting yourself rest. It makes no sense to burn your candle at both ends. Real self-worth and passion comes from within, not from exhausting yourself either with too high personal expectations or trying to fulfill external expectations at all costs.
2. Successful Leaders do not give their personal power away to others.
If you are a good listener and an empathetic individual, you have to learn how to shield yourself against taking upon you the negative energies of others, or letting people manipulate you. Learn how to be assertive, but not aggressive, and how to be gentle in a sophisticated way, without taking upon you the energies of others, unless they truly are uplifting and positive. It is a positive trait in people to have two ears and one mouth, and to use them accordingly, but practice assertiveness in yourself and focus upon spreading your light instead of letting people and society around you to drain your energy. Find ways of getting rid of negativity quickly, either through surrounding yourself with positive, like-minded people, meditation, spending time in nature and so forth. If you notice that certain relationships always seem to bring up negativity, make sure to detach yourself as soon as possible and focus upon getting back on track as soon as possible.
Successful leaders live with the 3 E ́s: Empathy, Energy and Enthusiasm
3. Successful leaders stay in tune with their personal values.
Simple. Know your values and stick to them. Be assertive, confident, and focused. If you have forgotten about your real core values, make sure to find yourself back to them, and remind yourself about them each and every day. Find ways of reminding yourself, be it through a daily repetition of a mantra or simply waking up in the morning with a smiling soul, full of optimism, making sure that you will make the best of each and every day living according to your values, without harming yourself or others.
4. Successful leaders have a principle of staying true to themselves, but are also willing to help, and to support others.
Great leadership starts with knowing yourself. Even greater leadership allows for you to forget about serving your ego. All great leaders live with a meaning and purpose of serving a higher good, helping others, and serving others. A true, winning leadership mentality can shine only when it serves a higher purpose. Respect yourself and others by focusing upon being a role model of positive actions and optimism instead of finding fault either in yourself or in others. Remember also that your greatness requires the ability of being at peace with yourself. We all deserve leaders with healthy personal qualities so make sure to stay healthy and take care of yourself first.
5. Successful leaders develop their communication skills. Every day.
Every change-making leader is marked by outstanding communication skills. Excellent communication is demanding, especially if and when you work long hours and have great responsibilities. Therefore, make sure to learn how to save your energy through developing your communication, and negotiation skills. Powerful, respectful communication requires assertiveness, consciousness, an ability to tap into your personal source, and most of all, having the capability of truly listening to yourself, and to those you communicate with. Practice also on listen to what is left unsaid, and what you possibly can read between the lines. Online communication especially does include a number of challenges, which requires for you the capability of tuning extra carefully into what is being communicated. Successful negotiation, on the other hand, should always create a win-win situation.
Communication must be HOT. That is Honest, Open, and Two-Way (Dan Oswald)
6. Successful leaders are physically, mentally and spiritually in balance.
Physical, mental and spiritual balance requires continuous efforts, but to be truly successful in your career, and in your life, you have to be in shape. The more demanding your life is, the more you will have to work on maintaining this balance. What this includes, and signifies, is individual to each one of us. Listen to the signals your body is giving you, but also to your dreams, daydreams, thoughts and senses. You are the master of your own temple, so make sure to nurture it accordingly.
7. Successful leaders have trust, and are trustworthy.
When leaders tap into their higher consciousness, and operate on a level from the super-ego, rather than based upon fears stemming from the subconscious level, they open up to whole new levels of possibilities. Tapping into one’s intuition and therefore, having access to the abundance on the upper levels of consciousness creates completely different experiences, and offers increasingly prosperous outcomes in every action. To learn more about stepping into your intuition, I recommend reading The Intuitive Way: A Guide to Living from Inner Wisdom written by Penney Pierce.
From Powerless to “Leader” – Recognizing Victimizers & Victim mentality by Esperanza Montalvo:
Thank you for reading, listening, watching, liking and commenting. Thank you also for emancipating yourself in a positive way and becoming a positive role model, and a catalyst for improved communication and leadership.
The P in PM is as much about People Management as it is about Project Management (Cornelius Fichtner)
Are you a project manager whose projects have failed more often than succeeded? Well, congratulate yourself for still having the title project manager, because if you had participated in The American Apprentice, Mr. Trump would already have fired you. No hard feelings though – it is nothing personal, it is only business, citing Mr. Trump.
And, to comfort you: you are most probably not alone with the problem, since most projects actually do fail, due to a number of reasons at the core of which are poor requirements, a poor scope definition (poor planning) from the beginning AND communication problems.
A project, according to the Project Management Institute, is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. Furthermore, a project usually has a definite beginning and an end. The target has been met once the project´s objectives have been met, or when the need for the project ceases to exist. Projects can last for years, even decades, depending upon their social, economic, and environmental impacts. In other words, a project can vary from a set of regular (daily, weekly) tasks with the purpose to reach a certain goal to more serious projects which indeed can last for years or even for decades.
As applicable to business (and development projects), successful project management requires skillful application of a wide range of knowledge, tools and techniques in order to meet the requirements. Traditional project management distinguishes five process groups as the illustration below simply demonstrates:
Depending upon the nature and the complexity of the project, various project management techniques can be utilized. Traditional project management, very structured, requires being well-organized, and as a supportive guide I can warmly recommend the American Project Management Institute´s “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)”, a comprehensive book including all technical details required for managing a project, from product life cycle management to project communications management. It even includes a chapter about how to handle interpersonal communication.
Although project management, as anything else in (business) life, cannot be learned solely from books, the PMBOK serves as an excellent guide to almost any project. Of course, the guide can be accustomed to the nature, length, and complexity of the project. Here, as with anything else, common sense is applicable.
Furthermore, managing a project requires for the project manager, and the project team to:
– Identify requirements – without requirements, the project would not be needed in the first place
– Addressing needs, concerns, and expectations of the stakeholders
– Balancing the competing project constraints including at least the following requisites:
As said, projects vary significantly from type, purpose, length, and complexity. An example of a long-term, complex, global, societal, and economical project are the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The goals were set (the project was initiated) in 2000, with a deadline in 2015. So far, only three of the eight goals have been met, although significant progress has been made in each of the goals. Analysis regarding the reasons for failure is certainly possible, and assumption is that analysis is being made upon these within the UN organization. Despite of failing to reach all the goals within the project timeline, the UN in co-operation with different instances is already planning new goals, and continues its important work towards improvement of socioeconomic circumstances in geographical regions most affected e.g. by poverty.
Another type of project management is Agile PM.
Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. (Albert Einstein)
Whereas traditional management theory (and traditional project management) assumes that
– Regulating change requires rigid procedures
– Hierarchical organizational structures establish order
– Increased control results in increased order (organizations must be rigid and static)
– Employees are interchangeable particles of the organizational machine (rat race?)
– Problems are mainly solved through reductionist task breakdown and allocation
– Projects and risks can be managed only through complex up-front planning
Agile project management professionals, on the other hand, look for emerging management principles based upon “new science” of complexity exploiting an understanding of autonomous human behavior gained through studying living systems in nature. Complex adaptive systems (CAS), and complexity scientists have studied the collective behavior of living systems in nature: flocking of birds, schooling of fish, marching of ants and the swarming of bees, discovering that while the individual “agents” in these complex adaptive systems possess only local strategic rules and capacity, their collective behavior is characterized by an overlaying order, self-organization, and a collective intelligence that is greater than the sum of the parts.
CAS has been applied successfully in several areas, including economics, and management. In CAS, the (project) manager becomes an adaptive leader, encouraging constant feedback and collaboration. CAS in Agile PM enhances the ability to deal with change, views organizations as elastic, fluid systems composed of intelligent human capital, and an overall humanistic problem solving approach. Every project needs a leader, and in Agile Methodologies the PM is rather a leader than a taskmaster with qualities such as vision, communication skills, and soft management skills, in addition to technical and organizational skills. (Agile Project Management. http://www.ccpace.com; Highsmith, J. 2004. Agile Project Management).
Agile Project Management, as Traditional Project Management, can be used in any kind of setting. Both methodologies can also be combined, utilizing the best parts of each in order to create the best possible result(s).
In summary, the most common reasons for project failure are:
– Poor planning in the first place, and poor requirements definition
– Unrealistic goal(s) from the beginning (dreaming, having goals and optimism is wonderful, but goals also need to be realistic) => Poor Scope Definition
– Miscalculations regarding time and budget
– Too many projects at once (project manager and team members are overloaded with work)
– Poor leadership (and thus poor project execution, e.g. teams are not integrated well enough)
– Poor communication
– Technological problems (although, depending upon the project – may be of most relevance in IT and technology projects)
– Poor risk calculation, and management
How to avoid project failure:
SELECT A QUALIFIED PROJECT MANAGER, WHO KNOWS HOW TO SET UP A PROJECT TEAM AND HOW TO LEAD PEOPLE. (REMEMBER: TASKS ARE BEING MANAGED, PEOPLE ARE BEING LEAD).
SET REALISTIC GOALS. IT IS NICE TO DREAM BIG, BUT TO AVOID FAILURE, REALISM IS NECESSARY.
PLAN THE PROJECT THOROUGHLY, INCLUDING THE DEFINITION OF REQUIREMENTS, ORGANIZATION AND RISK MANAGEMENT OF THE PROJECT.
SET A REALISTIC TIME FRAME AND DEFINE AN APPROPRIATE BUDGET WITH A +/- CALCULATION.
MAKE SURE NOT TO OVERLOAD EMPLOYEES WHO ALREADY ARE INVOLVED IN (MANY) OTHER PROJECTS. MAKE SURE THAT PROJECT MEMBERS HAVE ENOUGH TIME, ENERGY AND ENTHUSIASM FOR THE REALIZATION OF THE PROJECT.
FOCUS ON LEADERSHIP RATHER THAN ON MICRO-MANAGEMENT, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO LONG-TERM PROJECTS.
LEARN HOW TO COMMUNICATE EFFICIENTLY. COMMUNICATION SKILLS CAN ALWAYS BE DEVELOPED, HOWEVER GREAT A COMMUNICATOR YOU BELIEVE YOURSELF TO BE.
FORMULATE A RISK MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR YOUR PROJECT, INCLUDING POSSIBLE RISKS AND THEIR MINIMIZATION + WHAT ACTIONS NEED TO BE TAKEN IN CASE OF EMERGENCY.
AUDIT THE PROJECT ON A REGULAR BASIS WITH THE HELP OF PROFESSIONAL, UNBIASED AUDITORS.
Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth (Tom Barrett)
Reasons for Project Failure (IAG Consulting):
Thank you for reading, reflecting, commenting, and for sharing your experiences about successful/unsuccessful project management.
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