class, but we've never used what we learned. There are only two estimates acceptable to our CIO: six weeks or eighteen months." Wow! Now I had very valuable information. I thanked them for their frankness and focused my efforts on working with my boss, the CIO.
If you can ask gently, hear the information, and then acknowledge its validity, something very interesting seems to happen. You and the project members are able to think more clearly and creatively and decide what actions are best for your project.
How do you add gentleness to your repertoire? Try first being gentle with yourself. Many of us are tougher on ourselves than on others. This is a good place to practice. This also gives you a chance to experience your own reaction to being treated gently. Then, try privately asking one team member a sincere, gently put project question.
Learning any new behavior is awkward. So you're normal if it's uncomfortable for you at first. After you have practiced and feel more comfortable, you can decide if you want to use a gentle approach with a bigger group such as a project team.
Gentleness may never have entered your mind as a project tool. But before you dismiss it too quickly, give it a try and see what happens.