By Alexandria Loveless, Associate Project Manager at Starbucks
It is important for the project manager to understand the cultural differences within their team, department and organization. Cultural factors can create barriers within a team through verbal language, body language and written communications. This can include semantics and connotations, social conventions and nonverbal communication. The project manager needs to take the time to be aware of those around them and respectful of each team member in order to avoid causing cultural issues. This can be done by communicating diversity goals and expectations clearly to the team, not by setting out rules but by setting out the benefits for each individual and the company.
Gender factors can have an impact on communication styles as well. Men and women can complete the same job and task but may communicate the work differently. Male and female communication differences can consist of different styles and structure. Those two factors mixed with the stereotype that both men and women face can cause uncertainty in perception of what is being communicated. The project manager can practice inclusion not only with cultural differences but also with gender differences. This is important to do in as many communications as possible.
Personality factors are built on the human relationships between the project team and others within the office. These personality factors can be obvious such as raising your voice, disrespect, condescension, and intimidation. Personality factors, especially from the project manager, can have dramatic effects on the entire team and can be felt throughout the organization by setting the “organizational tone”. Project managers can seek those with different personalities to be a positive addition to the team by allowing them to be who they are which can allow free thinking and creativeness that can lead to thinking outside the box and problem solving during the project life cycle.
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Business Dictionary. Risk Communication. http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/risk-communication.html.