What skills make for a well-rounded project manager?

What skills make for a well-rounded project manager?

Carrol RowePRINCE2® is widely recognized for providing a method for successful project delivery.

However, aspiring project managers need to consider their certification – any certification – as only part of the greater whole which provides an experienced and well-rounded project manager.

There are many skills that can be developed through experience – involving both success and failure – which can be fine-tuned through further training and contribute to you becoming a more well-rounded professional:

  1. People Management
    I liken the role of a project manager to a conductor of an orchestra: you need to make sure that people start at the same time, pause to take breath at key stages and end together. There are times when a soloist needs to take centre stage. However, if the conductor were to take centre stage all the time, it could result in the orchestra not hitting the right notes at the right crucial times and, as a result, missing out on achieving a standing ovation at the end.
  2. Task Management
    The project manager needs to be able to assess when to take a step back to enable the project to move forward naturally or when to put pressure on at critical times throughout delivery. If the project manager is continually driving people unnecessarily, this could lead to fatigue in delivery. It’s better to keep that extra motivational push for those moments when it’s required.
  3. Business Change
    You can implement the shiniest, most up-to-date technology but the potential benefits for individuals and the organization may as well stay on the shelf boxed-up if you can’t win people’s hearts and minds for changing the way they work.
  4. Communications Skills
    Talking is still the best form of communication and it’s disappointing when a person sitting nearby in the office feels the need to send their ideas in an email rather than talk them through. “Walking the floor” builds stronger teams and working relationships. Also, regular, structured and timed meetings keep people informed; capturing deadlines, actions and action owners turns meetings into productive sessions rather than “meetings for meetings’ sake”. We’re all well aware and actively use internet, intranet and social media but basic meeting management appears to be a dying art form.
  5. Time Management
    If you want people to contribute to updating progress, risks and issues, etc, give them the time to think constructively about what they need to report on by providing sensible notice.
  6. Emotional Intelligence
    This is a skill I personally believe people are born with and develops with experience. This can be enhanced through further awareness training.
  7. Resilience
    Resilience, backed up with a good sense of humour, is a skill that often gets overlooked. Don’t “throw the towel in” at the first hurdle; you need to have considered contingencies and these are often provided by strong teams all working towards the same outcome. A sense of humour keeps team spirits high, especially when the going gets tough, though it must be suitably measured to not lessen the significance of the project/programme being delivered.

So, when considering appropriate certifications necessary to develop yourself as a credible project manager, give some thought to those softer skills that are often taken for granted until you find yourself in a situation where they then become a necessity.

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