The Importance of Soft Skills in Project Management
When it comes to complex projects, any project manager, no matter what industry they are engaged in, will tell you that it is inevitable that at some point during a project there will be conflicts. With so many individuals involved in a project, there are always going to be different perspectives and opinions. The types of delay that this can cause can not only add to the costs of the project but risk missing important timescales.
This is why it is so important for a project manager to have the right soft skills and emotional intelligence to help them. Soft skills are defined as interpersonal skills that allow individuals to communicate in a manner that is effective and collaborative and also help them to build vital relationships with the people they work with. Emotional intelligence is being able to understand and manage not only a person’s own emotions but also those of others.
How can you nurture these skills?
Improving on your soft skills can be something of a challenge. However, it is important to focus on reducing negative outcomes and making sure that you can maintain relationships that are healthy. Experts at Parallel Project Management Training have suggested some ways in which you can do this.:
1. Develop active learning skills
It is important to pay attention to what those around you are saying. This means asking for clarification and responding to show that you have understood and have empathy for a situation.
2. Cultivate communication skills that are effective
You need to speak in a manner that is clear and concise. Additionally, you should also pay attention to your body language and tone. Technical terms and jargon should be avoided particularly when they may not be understood by the person that you are speaking to. Remember stakeholders don’t have the same training for project managers that you or your team might have.
3. Build strong relationships
Developing a strong rapport with clients, colleagues and contractors is important. You need to remember how to be professional and respectful at the same time. Attend events within the industry, and make sure you build networks in order to expand the circle of contacts that you have.
4. Practise effective conflict management
It is important to learn how to identify the issues at the heart of any conflict and find a way in which you can work towards finding solutions that are mutually beneficial. A good project manager avoids placing blame or becoming defensive. Working together as a team produces better results.
5. Develop emotional intelligence
You need to learn to recognise and then manage your own personal emotions if you are going to be able to identify them in others. Learning how to do this will help you to increase your empathy and your trust in others. You will see the cues and learn how to respond to them.
Related: How to Use Mind Mapping for Project Management
Practice being adaptable
Finally, project management is constantly changing, so it is vital that as a project manager, you learn how to adapt to any new challenges and situations that might arise. A good way of doing this is via additional project management courses that will help you improve your skills as a project manager.