More and more the project management community is becoming aware of the value of soft skills. A good project manager is not only experienced and skilled but also has the capabilities to manage the people on the project and bring their team together toward a common goal.
A project manager can be extremely technically skilled, but without good leadership, a project has no direction. A good leader can inspire their team to want to do their work, creating vision and value for the project. A good leader brings wisdom and experience to the project while creating confidence and trust in their team.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams
Further to leadership skills are communication skills. One of the fundamentals of successful project management is buy-in from all project stakeholders – Improper communication with stakeholders can easily jeapordise a project. Stakeholder communication helps an organisation to achieve its strategic objectives by involving both the external and internal environments and by creating a positive relationship with stakeholders through expectation management.
Open and transparent communication can make team members feel comfortable and builds mutual trust, allowing constructive movement within the project.
Decision Making Skills
How does a project manager handle issues as they arise? Making effective decisions as a project manager is key in keeping a project moving forward properly.
A few simple guidelines should be followed in the decision making process:
- Identify the problem the gather important information
- Analyse constraints and limitations
- Find and analyse each of the alternatives and select the best of them
- Implement the same and establish a control and valuation system
Decision making is not simply an instinctive skill. Tools and models such as the SWOT analysis should be use to assess the risks and possible outcomes of each option.
Conflics are bound to arise in any project. Conflict management and resolution are essential skills to ensure continued team and project cohesion. Conflict can be resolved through negotiation; listening to both parties and making decisions in a firm but fair manner. While it may not always be possible to please both parties, transparency, fairness and compromise will ensure continued support from all parties, regardless of the outcome of the negotiation.