As a leader in an organisation, chances are that sooner rather than later you’ll have to interact with different stakeholders – whether it is a customer, a supplier, a shareholder, or a community member. You need to be able to identify them, understand their influence, and communicate boundaries and expectations in an effective manner.
Here are four quick tips to help you manage stakeholders:
You need to be able to put yourself in their shoes. Try to relate to them, what their goals are and how they perceive things at every turning point. You can use the empathy map canvas to help you gain further insights and understanding to each stakeholder.
Ask the right questions to the right people, not only at the beginning but throughout the entire collaboration. It is crucial to engage stakeholders in problem-solving, reviewing processes and creating documentation for best practices.
Understand if they require all details or a basic overview, and at which frequency. Speak about your preferred communication mode, e.g. for which topics an email, for which one Slack or maybe a call.
Don’t make the mistake of using your preferred communication mode (e.g. giving a call right away) if it’s their non-preferred communication method and they’d much rather prefer an email instead. This will cause frustration and a lack of confidence on the stakeholder’s side. It will show you didn’t listen to their initial preference.
Be clear on the expectations from the stakeholder’s point of view. Facilitating a meeting of all stakeholders to help them come to a mutually satisfying agreement could help. You need to understand what success means for them. They need to agree on what “done” actually looks like so you can avoid misunderstanding and conflict.
Would you like to feel even stronger supported in your first leadership role? Katrin also offers a new product to support first-time leaders even better: The First-Time Leaders Community. It includes a self-paced video training, regular workshops and exchange with peers, and optional individual coaching sessions. Learn more and sign up today if you think you can benefit from it!
photo by Lucie Greiner