Category Archives: Listening to Others

Alchemy and The Creative Manager

A project manager with highly developed interpersonal skills will motivate his team to achieve their goals quicker and with more synergy than a PM who is less practiced in the interpersonal arena. This is an observable fact.

Team members personalities come in all shapes and sizes. Not only is each individual unique, but their mood and attitude can vary depending on the moment. And you can be sure that given the same situation or problem, each person will approach it differently. The variables are endless. The potential for failure is enormous IF you are not creative in your interactions with people.

The greatest percentage of time in a manager’s day is spent working with his team. The success of each interaction is dependent upon the manager’s ability to empathize and understand his team members’ varied perspectives. Certainly a manager enters into a conversation with his own point of view’ though his first priority is to listen. The adage “strive first to understand, then to be understood” makes sense in the large majority of scenarios a manager deals with throughout his day.

From an individual’s vantage point life can feel like one long attempt to make sense of the world. We look for reasons on how and why things are the way they are. Just at the time we think we have it all figured out a new variable pops up and we are compelled to fit it into our worldview. There are certain principles that govern the way the world works. Or so we think. As soon as we talk with someone we understand that everyone sees the world in their own unique way.

The Creative Manager accepts the idea that no two people see things exactly alike. This is the starting point for all of his interactions. Instead of stubbornly holding on to his unique point of view he seizes the opportunity to open his mind to new ways of seeing. He doesn’t feel obliged to change his worldview. He takes in the new perspective whole.

What he now does with the new perspective is what makes the Creative Manager unique. He knows that the basis of creativity is transforming what exists into something new. He is an alchemist in a sense. He endeavors to combine the various perspectives which his team members hold dear into a coherent whole while maintaining aspects of each part. He’s on a quest to discover something new.

How does he accomplish this impressive feat of synergy? Well, first off he holds his ego in check. He knows not to impose his limited approach into the process. It’s not a competition to get his way, nor is it a negotiation to win concessions. It’s encouraging the team to come together to find common ground from which to communicate. The personality traits required to accomplish this are humility, patience and empathy. A Creative Manager knows when to sit back and listen to the team’s varied voices which, in turn, allows the individuals’ energies to coalesce into a powerful and cohesive force.

Achieving Success Through Creativity