Managers can certainly be considered stakeholders, but their role in this equation may be a little different than what you might expect.
In an age of constant communication, it’s easy to forget that some members of an organization can fall through the cracks. This is especially true for managers, who are often too busy strategizing and planning to worry about the day-to-day operations of their team. But as the old saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” And this is especially true when it comes to managers and stakeholder communications.
Who's (really) a stakeholder?
Generally speaking, stakeholders are individuals or groups who have a vested interest in the success of a project or organization. This can include shareholders, employees, clients, and even the community at large.
In most cases, the stakeholders will be directly impacted by the success or failure of the project and will require regular updates on the progress of what you are working on.
What’s the difference between a stakeholder and a manager?
The relationship between a stakeholder and manager can be thought of as a spectrum.
Stakeholders are those that:
- Have a vested interest in the project.
- Are affected by the project outcome.
Managers might be:
- Directly involved in the project
- Have influence over decisions
- Kept informed about the process and decisions
This means that managers should be included in regular stakeholder updates. They are not necessarily at the same level as shareholders or clients when it comes to having a vested interest in the project, but their role in the organization means that they need to be kept in the loop.
There are two main reasons for this:
- Managers are responsible for ensuring that all projects stay on track and meet deadlines. They need to be aware of any potential roadblocks so that they can take corrective action if necessary.
- Managers are often responsible for communicating with stakeholders higher up in the organization. By keeping them updated on project progress, managers can ensure that their reports are accurate and reflect positively on their team.
In short, managers should definitely be considered stakeholders, but their role may be a little different from other groups within the organization. They need to be included in regular updates so that they can do their job effectively and ensure that projects stay on track.
When should someone not be considered a stakeholder?
There are times when people are not considered stakeholders. For example, when they are not involved in the delivery of the project outcomes or when they are not directly impacted by the project results.
“Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
Mistaking too many people to be stakeholders can be detrimental to decision-making and result in a situation where you have too many people involved, impacting decision making and ultimately slow things down.
How can I set my manager up for success?
In order for a manager to be effective, they need to be able to effectively assess and manage stakeholder expectations.
While managers may not be direct stakeholders in certain aspects of the projects you're working on, they are certainly indirect stakeholders in almost everything. And as such, they need to be included in all stakeholder communications in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
What you can do is keep communication open and transparent. This means sharing updates on a regular basis and being responsive to questions and feedback. It’s also important to understand what each stakeholder’s priorities are and how they can contribute to the success of the project.
By including outcome-based reports like this in their weekly routine, managers can better manage stakeholder expectations and keep everyone informed about their progress.
If you want to learn more on how you can save time eliminate “surprises” when dealing with stakeholders and streamline your progress reporting, then check out enform.io and schedule a quick demo call, and we’ll see if we can help you send progress reports your stakeholders will actually read.