Critical Project Manager Skill – Ask better questions

Why Project Managers should read this: operating based upon your judgement and reasoning alone will only get you so far. The best leaders and managers ask questions of others to accelerate your learning.

My favorite quotes:

Rather than being the boss, and telling everyone how to do things, Grazer uses questions to listen and learn. When his team answers them, sometimes Brian changes his mind, and other times, the act of answering changes theirs. Either way, the outcome has nothing to do with Brian’s ego or his ideas being the only way to do things.

During the arduous journey to make Toy Story, he never once heard about issues production managers were having. When he finally did find out about them, he felt horrible they had gone on for so long. It was a painful lesson he learned that shaped much of his management approach going forward.

Never assume you fully understand something from simply an initial statement. You need to probe deeper so you’re not treating symptoms without knowing the disease.

If you have a habit of killing the messenger, no one will come to you with problems for long. Similarly, if a you tend to explode over any problem, your team will quickly learn to avoid making any mistakes. Both are catastrophic for you and your team.

Because the plant manager came to his people and involved them in the decision, they rallied with him and helped create a way to deliver the order on time. If he had simply come out and started giving orders, he would have likely been met with groans and resistance instead.

Read it now: Your most important management skill for success

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