Dealing with an angry project sponsor can be a challenging situation for any project manager. You may feel frustrated, stressed, or even intimidated by their behavior. However, there are some strategies that can help you cope with this problem and maintain a positive relationship with your sponsor.
One strategy is to get to know your sponsor as a person, not just as a role. Try to understand their motivations, goals, expectations, and communication style. This can help you build rapport, trust, and empathy with them. You can also use this information to tailor your messages and reports to their preferences and needs.
Another strategy is to isolate your sponsor from the rest of the stakeholders. This means giving them special attention and treatment, such as regular updates, feedback, recognition, and appreciation. This can help you avoid conflicts and misunderstandings with other stakeholders who may have different opinions or interests. You can also use this tactic to persuade your sponsor into agreeing with you or supporting your decisions by presenting them with options and consequences.
Always remember to keep your cool and be professional. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you when dealing with an angry sponsor. Don’t take things personally or react defensively. Instead, be assertive and respectful in the face of objection or criticism. Focus on the facts and the goals of the project, not on the personalities or the emotions involved.
This quick primer should help you manage your project stakeholders and sponsors gracefully.