Exploring the Importance of Project Managers Communications Skills on Project Success: Evidence from Bahria Enterprise
Communication skills play a pivotal role in the task of a construction project manager for the accomplishment of project success. Communication skills are the focal point in the effective transmittance of information amongst the members of the organization particularly between the project manager and the team. Project manager is the entity accountable for all matters encompassing the project; it lies within the scope of project manager’s duties to accurately convey the information concerning the duties delegated to the workers in a team, effectively understand their needs and concerns, as well as to bring all members of the team to a coalition directed towards successful project completion. This study investigates the significance and practicality of communication skills to be possessed by the project manager and their role in the project success in the area of Bahira Town Phase 4, Islamabad, Pakistan. In view of this effort, 19 communication skills have been identified that are imperative to the project manager. The study endeavored at ranking the thus recognized communication skills through a questionnaire based survey. The results of which reveal the most significant Communication Skills. Leadership and Motivation were deemed the most important, while others such as, Decision making, Problem Solving, Listening, Negotiation and Humor and Laughter are considered the Core Communication Skills. The others however are important but are not considered the core communication skills for the project managers in the vicinity of Islamabad, Pakistan. Conclusions and recommendations for formulating a better project success through project manager’s communication skills have also been proposed.
Keywords: Project manager, Communication Skills, Project Success, Team Member.
IntroductionProject management illustrates a project as a momentary undertaking, initiated to produce exclusive merchandise, service or else, an outcome. Essentially, the word “project” implied to “before an action”. Project management, on the contrary, is characterized, as the route for directing the accomplishments of project goals and exploiting the presented organizational reserves as well as running the project by employing a set of tools and techniques, without distressing the functions of the organization. Classifying the necessity of work, creating scope of work, assigning the vital assets, scheduling the work implementation, scrutinizing the growth of work and regulating any divergence from the strategy encompasses the role of project management.
Pakistan is amidst the densely populated countries of the world. Presently, more than 180 million people dwell in it, thus making it the 6th most densely inhabited country of the world. By and large, where literacy at all times, has been of a major concern. As indicated by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the literacy rate of Pakistan is barely 55%, positioned among the lowest literacy rates in the world, ranking Pakistan at 160, out of the total countries in the world. In spite of such debilitating circumstances, nonetheless, Pakistan is succeeding and approaching towards an improved economy with numerous massive projects namely, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Nuclear power project, Swat Motorway construction and Green line project to name a few.
A project presents numerous risks and with the passage of time many uncertainties surface, project failure being the most afflicting one. The escalation in the statistics of the projects ensuing in Pakistan brings forth the contingency of project failure at the same time. Failures emerge as a consequence of many factors, loopholes in Communication between the Project Manager and the team members, being one of the basic causes of project collapse. Communication between the project manager (assigned for a specific project) and the team members has a fundamental role in the successful completion of a project.
Communication is a two-way mechanism of shared consideration of the members, in which they do not merely transfer information, news, ideas and feelings rather construct and allocate meaning as well. Generally, communication is a source of linking people and places. In business, communication is a crucial part of the management and for an organization to function without communication, whether it is among different levels, sections or amongst the employees, is impossible. Project communication is described as the interchange of particularly the project’s information with significance to forming an insight between the sender and the receiver. The fundamental factor responsible for the achievement of a project is effective communication. The project collaborators must be supplied with well-timed and correct information by the project team members and a diverse report is organized by the team contenders to fulfill the project investor’s requirements while receiving opinions from the investors as well. A project communication encompasses a wide range of communication among the team members, also being additionally comprehensive. It forms the utmost significant element of a project. A set of critical communication skills and methods expedites the fulfillment of nearly all the projects, Undoubtedly, Communication and personal intercommunication is decisive of the success and decline of any project.
Regrettably, these days, the incomprehensiveness of the project managers as well as their incompetent and impaired communication capabilities impedes the self-confidence of the entire team members, resulting in ambiguity and deficiency in understanding of the tasks assigned to the team, precipitating project deterioration. Project managers lack the ability to employ the relevant communication skills and are deficient in reforming and developing them. It has become arduous for the project managers to assess and prioritize the skills to be altered and changed, thus the short comings in the communication at large, affect the team performance adversely. Communication is influential for operations. For that reason, an efficient communication structure should be ingrained, in order for high-performance teams to run any project and to acquire the best results. The absence of thorough communication approach increases the probability of project failure. Flourishing project managers possess excellent communication skills, encompassing the ability to successfully demonstrate the concerns, take note and act for that, in addition to cultivating good will amongst the team players.
This dissertation is aimed at addressing the problem of setbacks to project completion owing to the miscommunication between the project manager and the team causative of project failure.
Objective of the study:
To analyze and investigate the core communication skills aspired for a project manager, conducive to reinforce communication amongst project teams, prompting an accelerated project success.
Significance of the study:
This study will be a compelling endeavor for the construction project managers working in Pakistan. It will be beneficial in enhancing the communication skills of the project manager, expediting team motivation, ultimately increasing project success rate. By understanding the significance of the core communication skills, the project managers working in Pakistan will be able to employ the communications skills adequately to overcome the shortcomings that lead to project failure. With an overwhelming upsurge in the construction business sector in Pakistan, this study will be valuable tool for achieving project success amongst the business sector as well as for amateurs and laypeople.
The Sphere of this research will be Bahria town, Islamabad. Bahria Town is a Rawalpindi-based privately owned real estate developmental organization that possesses, develops and administers the lands over Pakistan. It is indeed the leading private real estate business in Asia. Established in the late-1900’s, it founded its first gated society in southern Rawalpindi on the Grand Trunk Road and by mid-2000s it had extended to 9 phases division in two complexes. Its second housing society was launched in Lahore. 2015 embarked the initiation of Bahria Town Karachi, the largest of its gated communities and Bahria Enclave Islamabad (instigated in 2013) forms the smallest of its communities. A majority of these housing communities are huge towns in their own. The earliest of its settlements in Rawalpindi spans over an area of 40,000 square acres. While Bahria town Karachi is spread over an area of 44,000 acres, being still under construction and is the largest privately owned residential community in the country. Collectively, its housing settlements inhabit over a million residents.
(Pinto ; Samuel,1990) conducted an analysis. The study established 97 of the projects looked upon as unsuccessful, in view of the project managers or by the parent organizations. The factors accountable for project failure were found employing the project execution report, fluctuating, in accordance with three probability aspects, namely: 1) The definition of the failure; 2) The type of project, and; 3) The stage of the project in its life cycle.
(Haseeb, Bibi ; Rabbani, 2011) illustrated the delays in project execution. The construction companies in Pakistan are accustomed to the setback of project delays. Delays are gauged as a constant set back to the parties involved, in terms of escalating the expenditures incurred during the project tenure consequently ending up as total desertion, claims and conflicts, thus decreasing the feasibility of the projects. An assessment of the time duration of construction projects was evaluated in order to analyze the root cause of project delays. The study aimed to classify the delaying factors as well as their effects on project success, as a delay in project accomplishment slows down the entire process, paving way for deterioration of resources and wastage of human resource. In Pakistan, the chief and frequent cause of delays are natural disasters like, Floods, Earthquakes and fiscal disputes such as Payment problems, Improper planning, Communication gaps, Poor site management, Insufficient experience, Shortage of materials and equipment etc.
(Krishna, 2009) concludes that Communication is at the focal point of successful interaction, be it the interaction in businesses like communication between a project manager and the team members in a construction projects or the communication between a doctor and a patient. Good communication is bound to generate better results with greater chances of success. The author has validated that good communication leads to improved clinical outcomes, it enables the doctors to diagnose the patient problems precisely. Therefore the patient will then receive a better understanding of his health status and chief complaint as well as the satisfactory treatment options and prognosis. Knowledgeable patients comply with the therapy and seldom complain about the therapy advised, leading to therapeutic success. Henceforth, the accurate usage of communication skills producing patient betterment will ultimately uplift doctors’ satisfaction and contentment.
(Zulch, 2014) identified that a Project manager occupies a prominent position in the team for the team members whom they look up to. When the staff trusts their project manager it will invigorate in him a sense of confidence, thus, helping them to communicate more effectively. The task of a project manager is to bring together the team, to work effectively and this is possible only when they can communicate efficiently. The team members of a project necessitate them to collaborate, share, collate and integrate the information and knowledge and recognize the project objectives. Communication is not merely verbal therefore, the project manager also communicates non-verbally through their character, attitude, behavior and personality. Giving the team members autonomy for work and the dissemination of the vision will boost the flow of information in all directions, that is, upward, downward, horizontal, diagonal and lateral, ensuing a positive feedback. The team members can be given autonomy and self-reliance only when an effective mode of communication prevails, which results in the acquisition of more from the team members and ultimately the accomplishment of the higher objectives, that is, the tasks.
(Krishnaya, Jamaludin& Ismail, 2017) studied that the consummation of every project, specifically, a construction project, necessitates Communication between all the team members and professionals at every step of the construction process. These professionals communicate in a variety of ways to formulate and devise a design that meets the needs of the clientele, in accordance with the appropriate communication of pertinent information. Unraveling the project reveals the materials and instructions to be outlined as drawings, specifications and constructions methods that must be communicated effectively within the staff. Henceforth, in order to settle construction and design concerns, employing the acceptable means of Communication as well as using the appropriate channels are crucial. Klang Valley, a construction industry’s 55 professionals were experimented on in the research. The study affirmed a staunch admiration of the significance of Communication skills and the effect they have on a project amid the industry. Project design stage and all other phases require adequate communication management for improved and efficient project deliverance. Notwithstanding this, there come hindrances in situations during the course of project design, comprising of unclear communication objectives, unclear channels of communication, ineffective reporting system, and ineffective communication between the parties on the project and stereotyping along with others. Lastly, the research suggested ways to upgrade their communication to the top level management.
(Davies, 2002) specified that the three questions that extensively respond to the query of ‘interpreting the reasons crucial to the accomplishment of a project’ comprise, recognizing: “What factors lead to project management success?”, “What factors lead to a successful project?” and “What factors lead to consistently successful projects?” .These questions interrogate the factors that pave way for success, those that compose a flourishing project as well as the features that induce constantly rewarding projects.
(Quill, 1995) declares that It is inevitable for hurdles to come when people endeavor conjointly to accomplish the same task and are in the pursuit of the same goals. As people belong to different ethnic backgrounds, their way of thinking, experiences, expectations, temper and frame of mind differs extensively from each other. Thus, there arise many barriers in the initiation of understanding and knowing of two people. At times this introduction and acquaintance is effortless and easy and the divergence boosts the relationship. Still, there are times when a considerable blockade arise which if not resolved and sorted out early, results in hampering the formation of a beneficial and healthy professional relationship.
(Zulch,2012) led a study and assessed that Ineffectual communication in projects may lead to project failure, in turn, failure to achieve the set objectives. Apart from planning, organizing and managing a project, Communication is imperative in the Construction Industry. Communication skills are required by the project manager to communicate efficiently and to lead the project to required completion of objectives. This thesis aspires at suggesting A Communication Skills and Leadership Model for a construction project management, applicable by the managing team. Additionally, it encompasses the core communication skills needed by the project manager to communicate effectively with the team members. The outcomes of this research reflect the communication skills of leadership as the prime most skill in addition to competent decision-making and problem solving expertise, a model anticipated for assisting the construction project management. Further, however this model can be utilized as a tool to quantify the reliability of the project manager or the responsibility of the project team.
(Akram, 2009) penned an article in which he illustrates the significance of communication, further it elucidates the communication apprehension of students in context of an English classroom at the university level. The author regards communication to be a jewel that can be used to take precedence in any walk of life. Through good communication skills one can make full use of their abilities and create strong professional relationships beneficial for one to excel anywhere. The study represents that the availability of adequate services and facilities can result in improved student achievements and enhanced results in the exercises in language classes.
(Brandts; Cooper, 2007) experimented the manager-employee interactions in corporate surroundings; here the rewards rely on the lofty coordination efforts of the employees. The author shows that the lack of managerial intercession leads to loopholes in the system thereby increasing the chances of the subjects perpetually tripping into the coordination malfunctions. In order to prevail over a record of coordination failure, two mechanisms exist for the managers to work upon: firstly, raising the financial incentives of the employers to coordinate and communicate effectively with the other employees. Using the techniques derived from human psychology and economy is necessary to enhance performance. Such methods can also be utilized to compute the influence of definite sort of communication on the efforts of the workers and the income and profits of the managers. The mentioned approach can be used to evaluate the worth of Communication and direct incentives meticulously in an arrangement where both are readily available. It is discovered that more than incentives, Communication is more a valuable means to head the organizations from falling into performance pitfalls. On investigating the satisfaction rate of the communication conducted by the managers, the utmost competent Communication tactics are fairly straightforward, encompassing , particularly appealing increased efforts , where both the parties gain advantage , and that the employees working to their best are paid well for their high efforts and performance.
(Zulch, 2014) directed a research which is interpreted as having inspected that the Communication skills of a project manager have an influence on the most basic and key elements of the project. Communication is required in sections of cost, scope, and time and is effectively needed to communicate in these areas which are the result of interrelationship amongst scope, cost and time. The basic element that is needed to amalgamate cost, scope and time is Communication and has a core essence. The conclusion is that, as Communication is the element needed to relate cost, scope and time in order to reach quality product, it has a foundation and supportive role, thus it may prove beneficial in backing and attaining cornerstone vicinities.
(Tushman; Katz, 1980) studied 61 projects in the industrial laboratory of R;D, in the matter of the consequences of problem-solving and administrative communication models on the practical routine. Though no differences were found in the corresponding mode of communication between the two, considerable variation was found to be in the analytical systems through which the transfer of administrative and problem-solving information was carried out in an organization, internally and externally. In general, the module of communication was altered by the type of job in the project. The usefulness of different amalgamations and collaborations was surveyed through two distinct processes. (1) Explicit connection via all members of the team and (2) Connection intervened by boundary spanning persons. The efficiency of each of these relating methods depended also on the projects’ duties. This study underpins and emphasizes the substance of running communication models in organizations as well as emphasizing the significance of boundary spanning entities.
(Mazzei&Ravazzani, 2011) intended an analysis to examine the efficacy of internal communication in times of crisis. It compared the efforts of the employers and the interpretation of these by the employees, of Italian companies as to how well they communicated during the global fiscal crisis of 2008-2009. The consequences signify a derangement with regard to what the company’s anticipated to communicate and what the employees perceived. The businesses designed exceptional communication, and used official instruments largely. However, they portrayed the crisis as opportunities. On the contrary, the workers criticized about the inadequacies of listening, about the clarity of messages that were delivered, as the mode of communication was hierarchical, the staff complained that there was lack of transparency of the messages communicated. The companies were charged of opportunism and exploitation. Thus as seen there was a sheer lack of good internal communication between the organizations that lead to employee dissatisfaction and grievance.
(Lorretta, 2005) conducted research that elaborates the online, cross-cultural communication encounter of Taiwanese college students. The cross-cultural communication skills of the students were reported to be enhanced, in addition to giving a boost to the communicating confidence of the students, following involvement in this project. Observed mainly owing to the incentive to do well in the project, in addition to the creation of an impression of a communal environment. Other constructive associations linked were (1) the stimulation to be successful and the creation of a communal climate; (2) assurance in communication and the creation of a communal climate; (3) assurance in communication and the attainment of cross-cultural communication skills. The acquisition of self-confident competence in English was a major source of the confidence in communication. Having being involved in the closing project, granted the students interpersonal communication abilities which in turn were a major factor in the acquirement of cross-cultural communication skills. Prospective approaches should be applied, bearing in mind the language barrier, to encourage the students for online alliance and to cultivate a communistic environment within.
(Zulch, 2016) conducted a study in which she weigh and analyze the fundamental communication skills needed to be acquired by a construction project manager. The tasks in project management rely mainly on a project manager’s capacity to communicate efficiently. It is essential to assess the skills vital for a project manager to communicate definitely for the projects interest. The results and conclusion pinpoints the skills critical for the construction industry. If the required set of Communication skills is utilized readily the result is the attainment of project demands. Therefore, it is implied that communication is fundamental and essential to the fulfillment of projects profitably. The communication skills deemed vital in supporting the construction project managers are decision-making and problem solving, listening, motivation, negotiation and conflict management skills. The development and advancement of their communication skills will improve communication and successful implementation of projects. According to her study she identifies 19 communication skills possessed by a project manager that someway affect the project overall performance.
Leadership is the vital most communication skill. It is imperative for a project manager to have the necessary communication skills, particularly the skill of leadership. A leader is one who inspires influences, motivates and persuades their team to follow and achieve the goals. It is in the hands of the leader to enhance the team performance where leaders connect with and produce the best outcome. According to B Zulch, leadership is required by a construction project manager for the successful management of a project. The leadership style adopted by a leader is determined by and reflects the leaders’ character, the reliability of the team and the prevailing circumstances define which style of leadership should be adopted. It is imperative for a leader to understand that diverse leadership styles are employed for differing projects and different groups of individuals. For an effective leader, it is necessary to adapt various styles depending upon the audience. Nonetheless, however varied the styles of leadership be, communication remains to be a pivotal point of interaction and association with the team members. To mature and excel as a leader and a manager, a project manager should learn to be an influential and persuasive communicator. The project leader and their team must learn to communicate effectively with each other proving that communication is the major factor in the success of a project as well as in the portfolio of construction project management leader.
Communication is supreme operative when inquiring questions during a talk. The cause for inquiring questions in project management is to permit time for interface between the speaker and the audience. (Clements and Gido 2012). Questions are questioned for attaining precise and authentic evidence and to form an atmosphere where the individuals are content to dialogue amenably and liberally. The project manager has to inspire questioning (Emmitt and Gorse 2007). It is the accountability of the project manager to inspire team associates to assist less practiced team fellows with queries to improve effective Communication.
Reinforcement comprises of a stimulus which, when connected to a reaction, will most likely head to that answer being repetitive. Verbal and non-verbal communication takes place using proficient facial expressions and gestures to deliver or respond to information (Hargie 2007). Positive reinforcement includes letting affiliates identify that they do reasonably well and their efforts are cherished. Understanding the message and sense is specified when a team member duplicates the duty or instruction described by the project manager, which in order implies effective communication.
Reflecting as skill
Reflecting as an ability is fairly linked with listening, responding to others in such a way as to carry attention, understanding and engagement in the conversation (Hargie 2007). Reflecting is the procedure of rephrasing and reaffirming both the spirits and utterings of the speaker.
Explaining means to make simpler and bestow to an understanding of the nature of Explanation (Hargie 2007). The better a manager can describe the responsibilities; the healthier outcomes can be accomplished. It works simultaneously with Questioning. A manager right after explaining, needs to assure the understanding of the information, the team received, by asking questions.
It is a procedure where an individual opens up about their mood, spirits, liking, disliking and personal experience by verbally communicating with others. Self-disclosure offers material that helps to lessen ambiguity regarding other person’s attitudes, values, personality and skills and empowers the work associated to progress (Hargie 2007).
Humor and laughter
Humor is a composite phenomenon concerning cognitive, emotional, physiological and social aspects (Hargie 2007). Humor and laughter may be acquired to determine attitudes, motives and values of team associates, without questioning openly, as well as to learn how the team members are answering to the manager, which might also predict the project manager’s admiration or disregard.
Negotiation includes discussing with others to reach terms with stakeholders or reach an agreement. Modifications to the contract and negotiating the proposal costs are examples of negotiation (PMI 2008). The ultimate element of negotiation is to generate a situation in which those who are in struggle may grind collectedly towards a purpose. Negotiation is the process of resolving conflict and reaching agreement (Wysocki 2007). It is a persuasive process and is an important skill needed to manage projects successfully (Steyn 2012).
Presentation refers to the graphical or pictorial representation of the data to the team. Project team members are educated about the project through presentations by the manager or even higher authorities are educated about the performance of the team through presentation by the manager or any team member. Presentations are often used in conjunction with reports. (Steyn 2012).
Skill of writing
Writing plays a very significant role in ongoing projects in the form of letter, reports, instructions or orders and it absolutely comes up with a subsidy as evidence of proof at times of conflicts or disputes (Emmitt and Gorse 2007). A study (Bowen, et al. 2006) established that written information can be definitely understood and re-read if one does not comprehend the message in the first place.
Public and mass communication
Public communication occurs when the project manager speaks to a large identified addressees. It may be that the message is intended to fascinate the attention of the main audience. Mass communication happens when the project manager directs information to an enormous, unknown audience. Information is habitually circulated over particular communication media, such as the Internet. Thus, mass communication is one-way communication and a lone basis to a huge diverse audience, with an absence of response (Emmitt 2010) .The construction project manager may not practice public and mass communication as frequently throughout each project, but the skill is necessary and can be required anytime.
A meeting comprises of a number of individuals sharing information, reaching conclusions or agreeing upon a specific issue through dialogue. Project meetings are the construction project manager’s main forum to manage the project and communicate with the team associates and stakeholders (Burke and Barron 2007).Project meeting are an important element that works in the favor of successful project completion.
The process of analyzing and identifying the issues that occur and if not managed on time by the manager, it may affect the project objectives and also the productivity of the project team. (APM Body of Knowledge 2006) Effective project managers realize that conflict is unavoidable, but that dealings may support in resolving of the conflict in an easier and effective way, whatever the reason be. Once a conflict occurs, the manager should identify the reason behind it and should create an atmosphere for agreeable negotiation to solve the conflict. The project manager is the individual answerable for the project and has the duty to deal or manage with conflict when it arises (Burke and Barron 2007).
Decision-making and problem solving
Decision-making is a method to improve group support and obligations for a result. Decision-making is unlike problem solving. Problem solving is a process of examining a difficulty and classifying a sum of potential solutions. Inquiry done (Emmitt and Gorse 2007) states that decision-making is a crucial section of a project manager’s set of skills.
Trust may be specifies as “a disposition and attitude, giving rise to a belief, concerning the readiness to be vulnerable in relation to another party or circumstance” (Pryke and Smyth 2006). Trust, involves communication, commitment, collaboration and competence – in other words, social interactions. Trust is certainly a critical feature for team performance. When Lack of trust, logically, nobody will share out their thoughts or notions and there will be slight or no team consistency. Often, the conclusion is that the organization will not nurture as a team.
Persuasion is the art of supervising, convincing and leading team associates near a form of favored conduct, approach or belief. Persuasion and conflict are associated, appealing that individuals with an extremely influential aptitude may use the ability to grip conflict positively and hence encourage righteousness and productive discussion (Emmitt and Gorse 2007). Those who do so are able to complete a project successfully.
Motivation offers the optimum circumstances for efficient performance of the people. The absence of motivation induces clashes, protests, pressure, and decreased productivity leading to project collapse (Steyn 2012). Verster (2006) asserts that the project manager should bear in mind the requirement of diverse incentives to motivate different groups, where a feeling of association and admiration for work improves communication. Success can be enhanced through efficient communication and encouragement of teams by the project manager for growth. Motivation is the consequence of thorough management and forecasting (Steyn 2012).
Listening is an art and a critically vital communication skill for prosperous project management. It is selective in nature and includes information receipt and comprehension. Understanding and not to be merely understood is the core of every communication. (Clements and Gido 2012). According to Sweeney (2011) listening is an imperative communication skill that involves listening, comprehending as well as to recognize the true sense of the words.
Persuasion is the skill of influencing the team members for an ideal attitude or behavior. Persuasion is associated closely with conflict where a project manager can use his persuasive skills to bring both parties to a point of mutual agreement, encouraging optimistic and candid discussion (Emmitt and Gorse 2007). The accomplishment of project and its successful management relies on the effectual use of persuasion concerning a chosen behavior by the project manager.
Population of this study is Construction Project Managers and Team leaders of Bahria Town Phase 4 Islamabad, Pakistan.
The data was collected from a total of 100 Respondentsand method of sampling represents Purposive sampling.
The questionnaire indicates from the research paper:
Zulch, B. (2016, September). An assessment of Construction Project Manager’s Communication skills in Project Success. In RICS, The Construction, Building and Real Estate Research Conference of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
Data collection procedure:
Self-administered questionnaires were used as instruments for data collection.
Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics in SPSS.
Following responses are calculated on a scale ranging from 1-5 where,
1 = Not Important
2 = Partially Important
3 = Required
4 = Important
5 = Strongly Important
A total of 100 questionnaires were distributed among the Professionals of Bahria Town Islamabad.
The enhancement of the self-esteem, yield, competence and revenue necessitates a manager to serve as a Leader. To be a Leader is to unify all team members to accomplish the task. The approach of “do it” and “let’s do it” precisely encompasses the obligations of a manager as a leader. Employing the expertise, as to congregate the squad, such that the workforce remains motivated yet not overburdened, still being rewarded aptly and working autonomously towards the goals are the skills crucial to a manager earned solely while being the leader rather than a dictator or a boss. In Pakistan specifically, only those survive who have the talent to guide others. Here, since many individuals step into the industry without adequate knowledge of the field and certainly end up as a failure in the assigned task, whereas only those individuals, who hold the skills to remain consistent with their team, survive. The laborers in Pakistan are not equipped well with the knowledge and education; hence they seek guidance from the project manager. In the scenario of scarcity of resources leading to arguments and disputes as well as other unprecedented circumstances only those leaders are accepted who unify the team members and take responsibility for the failures as well. Thus, in Pakistan the project managers who are able to guide and unify the diverse teams with their leadership communication skills towards project success, are valued by the staff prompting Leadership to be highest ranked communication skill in Islamabad, Pakistan for the project managers.
It is essential for a manager to have the communication skills of taking the right decision at the right time, especially in times of deficit. The power to take spontaneous, well-informed and accurate decisions is a talent valued by all. Looking for the opinion of every individual, in solving problems, making the employers feel a sense of ownership in seeking the solution. Involving the staff in decision making, taking responsibility for the success as well as for the failures, is the essence of being a credible manager. In Pakistan, male members of the society make up the majority of the teams in the construction companies. The culture of Pakistan gives the male members of the family the privilege to make all of the decisions of the families; particularly it is the opinion of the men that is sought in solving any disputes that may arise. Therefore the team members expect their opinion to be necessarily included in the decision making and problem solving process. Hence, the project managers working in Pakistan should bear in mind these aspects while making any decisions and should be impartial in making decisions. For that reason, it has been regarded as one of the core communication skills for a project manager as rated by the respondents.
Listening is an art and a communication skill mastered by few but for a successful and efficient operation of a project it is essential that a manager listens carefully. The team members convey their apprehensions to the manager only if the manager listens the message interprets it accurately and has empathy for the sender. The skill is classified as much imperative ability that should be attained by the manager to generate effective results and position them self at a podium of accomplishment. It involves non-verbal communication skills where the manager ought to illustrate that they understand and comprehend what is being said. Listening actually is the central to any communication, consequently, a necessity to perform effective project management.
Motivation provides the precise circumstances for the team members to flourish. It is the utmost task of a leader to motivate his team in difficult times and be optimistic, otherwise it may lead to stress, clashes and less productivity leading to project failure. Motivation provides the right set of stimulation needed by the workforce in stressful situations. A project can come to decline at any time during the life cycle, therefore motivation is needed to initiate, run and end a task perfectly. A manger can motivate his employees in many ways be it in the form of incentives or rewards for the tasks accomplished. The staff feels encouraged by such small acts therefore, productivity can be enhanced many fold, one of the reasons why it has been ranked as one of the essential communication skill. In regions such as Pakistan where the laborers belong to the lower class of the state their desolated conditions may quickly de-motivate the workers. In addition the adverse working circumstances with the lack of adequate resources are the factors prevalent in this country that are bound to de-motivate the team members. As a result the 1st rating of motivation as communication skill by the respondents demonstrates the magnitude of importance it has and is thus considered as a Core Communication skill to be possessed by project managers working in Pakistan.
Conflicts arise due to the difference of opinion and conflicts are inevitable. Conflict management aims at amplifying the positive side of the situation also increasing the group learning. It is the task of a manager to find out the root cause of the conflict and to propose appropriate resolutions for negotiation to satisfy both the parties. The project manager is the entity responsible for the project therefore it is his job to use his communication skills to resolve any conflicts that may come to pass. However, working in an area such as Pakistan where numerous labor and fiscal issues prevail, conflicts are bound to arise at a much accelerated rate and of greater intensity. Therefore the respondents have rated conflict management 4th in the rating of the communication skills that reveals its importance as a significant communication skill for a construction project manager working in Pakistan.
Meetings have not been ranked on the top in the grading as meetings however important they may be in the communication and sharing of information but in the scenario of Pakistan, the managers are already burdened due to the lack of human resource. Meetings though a part of the project managers duty are much time consuming and might take a lot of time before the opinion of every member is sought. The conduction of successful meetings requires the allocation of a suitable room which is rarely available to the project managers in Pakistan. In addition the performance of team meetings on a routine basis is not feasible for the scenario at hand as it costs much time, money and labor. Nonetheless the importance of meetings cannot be neglected rather it is adequate to arrange annual or biannual group meetings so as to discuss and resolve the issues observed, thus, saving the time and energy.
A team is developed by bringing together individuals that work together on the same goal to achieve the objectives. It is important to uplift the morale of the team using appraisals and incentives. The generation of a team and the hiring of adequately qualified professionals lie in the tasks of the organizations HR department. The delegation of these duties to the project manager costs the project, critical resources such as time, cost and human resources which are decisive to the well timed accomplishment of the project. The development of a team by the project manager requires a lot of time and may affect the overall project time. Therefore the respondents although familiar with its importance do not consider team development and team building to be a core communication skill for the construction project managers in Pakistan and hence have ranked it less.
Writing is an essential form of communication. It is a skill that can be used to communicate in crucial situations in an acceptable manner, similar to the downsizing letter issued by the authorities which, if is well written, will help the employee feel emotionally stabilized to an extent. Writing skills are also important to store the information in writing and while communicating with the higher authorities. However, a project manager possessing excellent writing skills and none of the practical skills is of no use to the company especially considering Construction Organizations.. The main goal of the project manager is to unify the team, communicate with them effectively and guide the team to project and task accomplishment, which can be achieved even if the project manager does not possess good writing skills. Therefore this communication skill though needed is not deemed to be a core communication skill by the respondents.
Negotiation is an important element of construction projects and a skill needed indefinitely by the project managers. To be a good manager one needs to have good negotiation skills to come to a mutual point with other team members. Negotiation is used while setting the terms of the contract with the stakeholders as well as with the vendors to set the propose cost of the project. Negotiation is also extremely benefactor when resolving a conflict. As mentioned earlier the more adverse the situations to work in, the more there will be a chance of conflicts to rise, the scenario observed in Pakistan, where conflict may arise on petty issues. It is then in the hand of the project manager to find out the root cause of the conflict and resolve for both parties, to come to a mutual point of agreement and work towards achieving the goal. Also negotiation can be helpful in demanding for an increase in the time duration or cost for the project from high authorities. Accordingly, the results of the survey prove it to be regarded as a core communication skill to be possessed by a project manager, ranking at number 3.
Explanation is an important part of effective communication. Explanation lies at the base of an effective understanding of the project objectives to the team members through the use of verbal and non-verbal communication. The team will respond and act accordingly if they have gained a thorough understanding of the project and if the project manager has entailed them clearly with all the aspects of the project. Therefore it is essential for the project manager to possess the capacity to clearly explain the objectives to the team members and the higher authorities. The replies thus depicting its importance in the communication skills as its high ranking by the respondents.
Trusting the team members for their abilities is a skill that needs to be present in every project manager. Trusting the team members initiates in them a sense of self-confidence and motivation, and keeps them uplifted. However if the project manager relies solely on trusting the members with the task and not rendering any attention or consideration to the work being done, it may produce deficient results as the team may become sluggish being aware of the fact that no one is gauging their activities. Consequently, in Pakistan as well, a blind trust for the workers to accomplish their duties may entice an objectionable us of this reliance. Therefore, trust to an extent for uplifting the teams’ morale is vital still a manger working in Pakistan on a project cannot afford to rely on trust alone, thus reflecting its low ranking in the research.
A project described in the form of a well-illustrated presentation, demonstrating the pro and cons of the project through diagrams and analysis is not better than any form of communication as the viewer is able to see, listen and hear the process through all means of communication as well as through non-verbal communication means. Unfortunately, in Pakistan this means of conversing and explanation can be used while defining the objectives to the higher authorities have an advanced level of learning and literacy, while the laborers do not meet the criteria of having an advanced level of education and learning expertise. Therefore, this despite being an essential communication skill cannot be utilized to its full in the current scenario of Pakistan.
A fundamental aspect of businesses is to persuade others to understand and agree to your viewpoint, be it while selling a product or conveying information. Persuading the workers in terms of guiding them and leading them to project success is a valuable skill. However, in circumstances like Pakistan, where there lie many discrepancies, a project manager might use this skill to overpower and make invalid use of this skill. Using their persuasive power, bearing in mind the shortage of labor in the area they might use it to persuade the staff to work overtime or with deceased wages, thereby allowing the staff to sell themselves short. Therefore in the current scenario this skill if used appropriately is an essential communication skill, still, misusing it will lead to unprecedented circumstances, the reason why it is ranked low.
Public and mass communication refers to the capability of the project manager to communicate with the masses through various media. This form of communication is required when commuting on a large scale while working on national and international projects, where public appearing necessitates the occurrence of this skill. Notwithstanding this, the project managers in Pakistan at large are not encountered by situations requiring the use of this skill. The functioning of the project managers in Pakistan relies majorly on the effective communication with the team members that does not call for the presence of public and mass communication skills necessarily. Project accomplishment depends on the effective communication and understanding of information majorly between the project manager and their staff members, although the projects would run successfully even with the project manager having a minimum of these communication skills. The project managers in Pakistan deem this skill as being significant in broadening the horizons for the project construction companies but do not consider it as a core communication skill for the operation of the tasks of a project manager on a routine basis.
Questioning and reinforcement are the skills necessary to be acquired by a project manager with reference to the accomplishment of the tasks and the duties assigned, by the power delegated to him, it is his right to question the employees. While most managers may use it for the benefit of the project, some like those in the area of study might want to show their command over the team members. Therefore, when used unreasonably by the manager it can be a menace. Repeated questioning by the project manager can induce in the team members a sense of insecurity and distrust of their abilities, creating apprehensions in their mind with respect to the work they do. In addition, it is a psychological phenomenon where repeated questioning can provoke and generate a fury and anxiety, definitely decreasing the productivity. In Pakistan the team members seek it to be as questioning their abilities and talents, depicting its low ranking in the communication skills. It is necessary for a project manager to use their authority and rights in a way that will not suppress the team members and affect their efficiency.
Humor and laughter are as important the communication skills as motivation. Humor involves a set of varied cognitive, psychological and physiological components; laughter on the other hand is a more intense emotion than smiling. Humor and laughter create a friendly atmosphere of ease, where the employees particularly feel relieved when the project manager uses humor to attenuate a grim situation. Humor uplifts and motivates the team members, with a friendly project manager where the team members prefer to work with such a team lead, signaling indirectly a project manager’s adoration, and it invigorates creative thinking and novelty in the team members. Therefore, it is regarded as a core communication skill if possessed by the project manager as it relives the team members psychologically thereby inducing innovation and directing towards enhanced project success.
Reflecting is, to understand and illustrate through your body language and gestures what is being said. It is coupled closely to listening, as there lays a tendency to receive the information gained, interpret by reflecting on it and generate an outcome attributing to your comprehension of the perceived information. It is an element of communicating effectively with the team members. Reflecting is inferred, given that the project managers should reflect on the information conveyed to them. Sadly, in countries like Pakistan, where the project managers in consideration of the work overload cannot reflect deeply on every information communicated to them. Therefore, in view of the project managers in Pakistan, reflecting is a good adjunct to effective communication although it is not regarded as a core communication skill for project managers in Pakistan.
Self-disclosure pertains to the act of verbally disclosing the personality and traits to the team members so that they may become conscious to the temperament of the project manager. Informing the team members by disclosing your personality and inner self to the team, to lessen ambiguities, so that the team members can work and communicate effectively with the project manager However, taking into view the scenario of this research, Pakistan bearing a conservative society, there tends to be insecurity in revealing a lot about your personality. Here the project managers at large, operate through a limited communication with the team members, therefore they do not deem it fit and as important a communication skill to be possessed by a project manager. The respondents of the research have rated self-disclosure as the least important communication skill required for a project manager pertaining to the disposition that disclosing the aspects of personality influenced by professional or personal concerns might arouse apprehensions amongst the co-workers that can lead to a reduced productivity.
In an attempt to study the fundamental communication skills necessary to be possessed by a project manager following project success; a research conducted through “Literature Study” and “Questionnaire Survey”. A preliminary study conducted to analyze the crucial role of communication skills in project success, in particular construction project management, in the area of Islamabad Pakistan was performed. The results indicate 19 communication skills necessary for a project manager. Amongst these 19, Leadership and Motivation play a pivotal role to be regarded as the core communication skills for a successful project. While listening, decision making and problem-solving along with humor and laughter are the basic attributes that a project manager should acquire to conceive improved outcomes. For the customary activities in a project, Negotiating, Explaining and Managing Conflicts are essential skills to be gathered. The communication skills such as self-disclosure, public and mass communications are though important but are not linked directly with team’s performance. A successful project manager should possess an amalgamation of these skills and use them aptly in order to keep up well with the team members, as well as the higher authorities and for the company to excel and to yield perpetually triumphant construction projects.
The results of the study thus completed depict the observations and understanding of the inhabitants of a precise region. The judgment and assessment of the inhabitants contrast greatly inter and intra regionally. The skills recognized as core communication skills for this area may not be applicable and acceptable for the dwellers of another region. Therefore, the results of this study shall be pertinent to the residents of an area with a similar notions and stance to the area of study at hand. Gender plays a vital role in differentiating the perspective of the individuals. Thereby, the project mangers’ gender might as well be taken into account, owing to the discrepancy in the emotional intelligence, altering the disposition of the concluding outcomes. Furthermore, the experience and practice of the manager should also be gauged prior to gathering the response as their lies an immense difference of opinion between an amateur and an experience professional. In addition, literacy rate of the area under study shall also be kept in mind which may affect the results vastly.
Communication skills a construction project manager should possess 1 2 3 4 5
Leadership Skills Decision making & Problem Solving Listening Motivation Conflict Management Meetings Team development &team building Writing Negotiating Explaining Trusting Presentation Persuasion Reinforcement Public and mass communication Questioning Humor and laughter Reflecting Self-disclosure