Project Management

How Project Managers Can Retain Unhappy Stakeholders

Unhappy stakeholders are troublesome. How do you regain their favor again? In this article at PMStudent, Margaret Meloni explains how you can retain unhappy stakeholders.

Creating the Bond Again

Project managers are excellent people managers. So, it is surprising when your stakeholders try to ignore you. Below are the ways you can deal with unhappy stakeholders:

Make Sure Everyone Is on the Same Page: Withholding information is one of the foremost reasons that result in unhappy stakeholders. Even if you think you have been doing all things right, something might have ticked them off. Discover the source of their disappointment. If you cannot handle all the stakeholders alone, delegate people that have a good rapport with them.

Don’t Badmouth Them: Just because they are upset, you cannot brand them negatively. What if the unhappy stakeholders are working on multiple projects? If they are not ready to share their problems with you, go ahead and ask yourself. If they are facing issues with project goals, talk to the steering committee or sponsor.

Take Action: It might be that stakeholders do not know much about the role they are presently undertaking. Talk to the stakeholders in person to understand their grievances. Clarify any doubts that they might be having. Even after this, if they are unwilling, discover the underlying issues, and find a way to solve them. It might be that they do have the relevant capabilities to support you in the project.

Ask the Right Questions: Framing questions the right away can evoke the right answer. Step in their shoes to pose the relevant queries. When you hit the right spot, it is the starting point of your renewing the bond with your stakeholders.

Give the Confidence: Do not take it for granted that stakeholders will share details because you are the project manager. Some want an exchange of information, while others need acknowledgment. If unhappy stakeholders have hidden aspirations, make those possible. For example, let them present if they wish to gain top management attention.

If unhappy stakeholders are affecting your project performance, take necessary steps before it becomes risky. Escalate the issue but be polite when you deliver the news.

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