Soft Skills To Develop As a Project Manager

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MShttps://dittodigital.co.uk
The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in SEO.

A project manager is someone who has plenty of relevant experience and has attained one or several of the relevant PM qualifications. However, when it comes to being a good project manager, those soft skills are critical as well, which is something we are going to focus on in this blog post. Below, we will reveal more about the most important soft skills that you need as a project manager. A lot of people feel that you are either born with soft skills or you are not. However, you can develop and enhance your skillset in these areas, so don’t feel disheartened if you are not quite there yet.

Motivation

There is only one place to begin, and this is with being a good motivator. There are going to be moments whereby your project team’s morale starts to suffer and everyone gets a bit slower. Rather than shouting or complaining, you need to figure out why your team members are not feeling very motivated. Perhaps they are using outdated software which is holding them back? Maybe they are in a lull? After all, we all get those moments. Either way, the best project managers know how to deal with situations like this, ensuring that their team feels motivated to reach the goals that have been established. Perhaps the goals have not been communicated effectively to begin with? When this happens, it can be very hard to be motivated because you are do not know what you are working toward. This is why clearly communicating goals and objectives are imperative when it comes to motivating your team as well.

Communication

Not only do you need to be good at motivating your team, but you also need to be an effective communicator as well. This is something that we briefly touched upon in the former section where we mentioned the importance of motivating people by clearly indicating what the objectives are for the project. Motivation and communication are entwined. Howeve, communication goes a lot further than this. After all, you are going to be talking with a whole host of different people through any project, from your team members and suppliers to stakeholders and the client. Therefore, you need to be effective at adapting your communication style depending on who you are speaking with. This is what being a good communicator is all about. Another thing to take into account is tailoring your communication to the appropriate platform. There are many different types of communication tools that are available on the market today, from video calling to instant marketing. Therefore, knowing which tool you should use and how you should use it is also vital.

Effective decision-making

As a project manager, you are going to be faced with making a lot of different decisions on a daily basis. Therefore, you need to be effective at making those decisions. This mean that you need to be decisive and confident in your decision-making skills. However, you also need to be able to analyse information efficiently and effectively. That way, you can be sure that you make the best possible decisions. You should also be able to analyse the bad decisions you may have made in the past.  The best project managers are able to learn from previous errors they have made when it comes to decision-making.

Trustworthy

Fundamentally, a good project manager is someone who is trustworthy. If you do not have the trust of your team, you are going to find it very difficult to move forward and achieve your goals. You need to make sure that you act with integrity and honesty at all times. After all, trust is something that is very difficult to build, but it can be destroyed in a matter of seconds. When this happens, you may never be able to build trust to a high level again.

Managing conflict

Aside from everything that we have mentioned above, another soft skill that you need to have is being good at managing conflict. After all, we can pretty much be assured that conflict is going to occur in some shape or form throughout a project. There are a lot of different opinions on how things should be done, and you have the job of managing expectations in the process. That is without even mentioning needing to manage suppliers, stakeholders and third parties. When you consider all of this, you can see how it can be a very fine balance to maintain. Nevertheless, the best project managers are those that can remain calm under pressure and are very effective at managing conflicts that arise. There are a number of different things that you can do to manage conflicts effectively. One of the most critical is making sure that you get to the root of the problem, rather than simply dealing with the symptoms of the conflict.

Leadership

Last but not least, we cannot talk about the soft skills that project managers require without talking about leadership. There are many different leadership styles, so it makes sense to sit down and work out what sort of leadership style is going to be right for you. There are some qualities that all good leaders need to have, though. For example, being able to convey project roles and goals in a clear and effective manner is imperative. For many leaders to be successful it is imperative to make sure that they lead by example. For example, if you are someone who is positive and has an enthusiastic attitude, this will rub off on your project management team and they will have the same sort of approach. This can only mean good things for your project.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the skills that you need to develop as a project manager. As you can see, there are a lot of different skills needed by project managers, as PMs work in roles that are incredibly diverse and have many different layers to them. This is why the best project managers continually work on their skills so that they continue to get better in their role.

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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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