[photo by OMG its Shortiie ♥, flickr artist](http://www.flickr.com/photos/29185106@N02/)
photo by OMG its Shortiie ♥, flickr artist

when it comes to managing people and projects — when you work in a collaborative environment — there’s one thing that’s more important than anything else, and that’s communication.

you absolutely need to know when to keep talking, and when you need to shut up. there are going to be a few times when you should speak your mind:

  • when someone does something unsavory
  • when you know something or how to do it
  • when someone asks for a critique
  • when someone asks for a volunteer

when something is unsavory you need to speak up. any time that you have to ask yourself “is this the right thing to do?” or get the feeling that something doesn’t pass the snuff test, if you don’t speak up, you could be regarded as part of the problem. as

rush said in their song ‘freewill’ [itunes link] — “if you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.”

when you know something, express your mind. if you don’t, or if you hesitate for whatever reason, someone else might say it instead of you and get the credit and admiration for it. if you know something, be confident and say so.

when someone asks you what you think about their work, be open and honest — but be constructive. don’t just say, “this is bad” or “this is wrong” or “i don’t like how you did this.” you need to talk about what they did, why that made you see it as ineffective, and how you’d go about changing it.

when someone asks for a volunteer — do it. you’ll be recognized for your dedication and also become more apt to receive offers for more challenging (and more rewarding) work. and if you’re a manager, make sure you keep track of those people always stepping up when no one else wants to.

but there are also times when you should just hush up and be quiet. we’ll get into more detail on that in part 2 of this topic. check back soon, or add my RSS feed to your favorite reader.