Removing obstacles is one of the most important jobs we have as project managers. An obstacle is defined as something that impedes or hinders achievement. There are times when the obstacles are beyond our direct control, and we feel powerless to remove them. In those times we need to call for help as fast as we can. In this article, I want to deal with invisible obstacles. These are often unspoken and untouched by most. These obstacles may lie within us or we may be facing them from others. Here are three invisible obstacles and a few suggestions for removing them:
Obstacle #1 Assumptions
Unfounded assumptions create an obstacle to clarity. The end result is confusion and miscommunication. Avoid this obstacle by asking the right questions. Ask the obvious questions even when you believe all are in agreement. It may seem elementary in some cases, but the time spent to clarify meaning is well worth it.
Obstacle #2 Judgment
To a certain degree, we judge people and situations or we are being judged. It can be over a period of time, or during a moment in time. The issue arises when there is bias or lack of facts. The filter or lens, if one exists, can determine if it will be positive or negative. When used in a negative way, judgment creates an obstacle to healthy relationships. The end result is mistrust and lack of respect. Avoid this obstacle by ridding your mind of perceptions, having open dialogue and listening more. Seek facts and trust your gut instinct too.
Obstacle #3 Fear
Fear creates an obstacle to forward movement. The end result is stagnation and weak leadership. Avoid this obstacle by building your knowledge and sharing it with others. This will build the confidence and courage to move forward. Assess and mitigate risks early and often. Keep your finger on the pulse.
Sometimes you can anticipate Assumptions, Judgment and Fear before they arise. They tend to show themselves in our daily interactions and communications. The first step to overcoming an obstacle is to recognize it, identify the root and move towards a solution in a healthy and non-destructive manner. Most importantly, we need to check ourselves first to make sure we aren’t operating in these areas. Unfortunately, people will choose to make assumptions, cast judgment or fear the unknown – including us. We may not be able to remove them, but remember that we can always overcome them to achieve success!
If you found these tips from Lakecia Carter, PMP of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com.
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