How to manage different working styles
Updated: Jan 7
As a consultant and project manager, its part and parcel of the job to bend and flex to different working styles. Some clients like to be involved in every element of the project and will dictate emails to me and others I barely see, trusting me to get on with it.
It’s a challenge, but once I get to know all of their different communication styles, their motivations for the project, difficulties they have had in the past, how they like information presented to them and what they truly want from me, this is where we start to see positive results.
However, I would not be telling the truth if I didn’t share that sometimes this has been difficult, especially now during uncertain and disrupted times I am having to adapt, as are others, to working and communicating differently. Having discussed this with some peers who are not strangers to this situation; together we recommend the following:
1. Review, Reflect and then Act
It’s usually obvious when things aren’t working well, and communication feels strained.
Quickly call a meeting, raise the issues and be prepared to act on the feedback.
If you are reading this, I’m guessing you’re a change agent, or a contractor tasked with a challenging project. You have the skills and experience, but your confidence may be knocked, mistakes are being made and it's difficult to know what to do for the best.
In preparation for and post your meeting, review the situation, reflect on your role, your communication style and what you need to deliver the project, the brief and context and then act on what improvements can be made.
2. Start Fresh
Now you have gotten the most difficult part out of the way (acknowledging and addressing the issues), start fresh and move forward. You have work to do and people are counting on you.
In most cases, it’s a simple misunderstanding or clash of personalities but you are a professional and good at your job. Start fresh, be positive and let’s continue 😊 (if you want to.)
A lot of misunderstandings occur when we are frightened to ask questions, but it’s your job to clarify the next steps of the project. It is the simplest, most effective and most essential aspect required to progress your initiative.
Lastly, when it’s taking you a little longer to find your groove, remember to;
Just be you
Adopt a positive and can-do attitude
Try not to take things personally and jump to conclusions about what others may think
Tara Humphrey is the founder of THC Primary Care, a leading healthcare consultancy specialising in workforce transformation and the host of the Business of Healthcare Podcast.
Tara and her team also work with GP federations supporting the implementation of clinical services.
Tara has over 20 years of project management and business development experience across the private and public sector and has an MBA in Leadership and Management in Healthcare, is published in the London Journal of Primary Care and is the author of over 150 blogs.