Listen very carefully, I shall say zis only once...
Communication. Communication. Communication.
Working in, guiding, leading and managing a team (at least a moderately successful one), hinges upon clear, concise, and confident communication. Equally, a negotiation depends on both parties understanding, and following the flow of the conversation.
Much is made of the way we say something, and often the tiny percentage of what we are actually saying having an impact is highlighted. Despite this, the linguist in me screams to the contrary.
Challenge 3 - Acquire 9 items, set out by Lord Sugar, for the lowest price possible. Teams are split, with half being sent across the Channel to northern France, half staying on the Kent coast. A penalty is incurred for each item not purchased, or not up to specification.
With self-confessed lothario Joseph Valente at the helm for the boys, and French speaker Vana Koutsomitis leading the girls, the games commenced… En garde.
The two ‘francophone’ members of the male team steamed ahead; all the while trying their best to not fall through any conveniently open bars, set any coaches on fire, or inadvertently chase any criminals dressed as a comedy hero duo, while still giving a good impression of the language tutelage in british schools. Bonjour, Rodney.
Once again assuming a position of management by exception, Vana led a team that aimed to ensnare the gallic owners of the required objects, employing a femme fatale approach. All seemed to be going well until once again a lack of emotional intelligence, vital for all Project, Programme or indeed Change Managers created a hostile atmosphere.
A perfect example of the contrast in communication styles and approaches was the acquisition of the specified fromage maroilles - The boys quickly identified the fact that they required the full piece, while Vana, under protest from the rest of the team highlighted that "When you think about it, any cheese could be a whole piece”.
To come back on point, understanding how teams relate to each other, grasping how exactly they should best be motivated, and allowing them a degree of self-management while clearing out obstacles that possibly stand in their way, are all tell-tale signs of an emotionally intelligent project manager.
Par example, who would have thought the sight and smell of such a huge pile of fresh manure would have elicited such screams of delight from the well-heeled dames.