Getting feedback as a new Agricultural PM

By | February 5, 2021
grayscale photo of a farm field

Your first mistake is not acknowledging people, and asking for feedback.

Your next mistake is to expect everyone to refer to you as ‘ma’am or ‘sir’ in new situations you don’t understand.

How about this one. You think that you are the only one who needs to be informed of all of a team’s developments. You’re wrong about this one. You may be the only person!

Your third mistake is to shut out or isolate people who are different from you.

You might have built up your project manager skills, and gained trust amongst your team, only to lose your focus when there are new people. Try to go back to the beginning. Were there any particular individuals who ministries set up in prior years, who came at a particular moment? Perhaps their ideas have closed the door on you. Or, maybe you used them and they already worked within your team and you have to begin from the beginning again?

If you think that you don’t have life experience, then put yourself into perspective:

You developed your skills as a project manager because you were probably not ‘one of them’. Every “target” was new and not predictable. Strategic projects that your team worked have proved to be hitches that were not what you anticipated. You built your skills, and now you need to revisit your relationship in order to achieve better results.

Cultural compatibility.

The second mistake is to picture yourself as a consultant and operate like a conventional shop. Your name is not ‘Q’ or “A”. Your reputation is ‘Q’. Most of your team doesn’t recognize your direct title. ‘ sender’ and “ Area Manager” are common terms that are used when a delivery goes above and beyond the call of duty. In some cases, you or your team are more likely to hear terms like “uct ro till” or ‘sorry,” than “ speaker notes”

The third mistake is to keep people in the dark about your team’s reactions to a new project, or new opportunities that are not on paper, but ‘only known to a few”. Or even ‘how the team is doing”. If you say ‘we have new initiatives’ and do not share that information with everyone, you create a fear in your team, that your decisions mean everything to someone else on the team. Doing it just when it is time to be quiet is not being an effective leader, and is in actual fact, an act of fear and powerlessness.

Another reason that wrong people are hired is that they are perceived as wrong. This is especially true of senior managers who have lots of influence in the organization. Yet, you need to keep your team informed of what the forum for change is, so that you are certain to receive the right inputs to manage your project efficiently. A successful next step is to inform the listening on your team what the deliverables and milestones are. Unclear information will quickly lead to group malfunctioning. By presenting information in an open forum, you go a long way to ensure that the messages that people hear are the right message for the right stakeholders. This is the point at which your team will want to contribute to the process.

The final mistake is to confuse effectiveness with the art of change management. Projects don’t change every day. You and your team may feel good about each milestone or deliverable, but the time that it takes to adapt to the new direction may look like change is coming to a close.

It’s a valid point when people after an initial sense of excitement decide that they don’t want to change. You must not ignore the feelings of individuals on your team, as this can lead to enthusiastic people trying to force their vision on other members of the team. Change can be exhilarating, and be challenging. You might not be able to respond to every piece of input, but you should analyze them all given the circumstances and rediscover. (You may even want to offer a compromise for more reason to modify the desired scope of change.) Stop and give your team time to process and hopefully commit to a course of action.

The last of the four mistakes is in action when communications break down. The classic case is a down downturn in activity due to cost reductions or staff spending. However, keeping people informed of progress is the key to preservation. Keeping people happy, informed of what is happening, who is on board, and what is likely to happen next, will ensure that your project plans deliver the results. Face to face meetings, posters, staff briefings, email updates, and other methods of communication will help clearing the inevitable confusion.