Power Skills are Human Skills
Communication, leadership, collaboration, empathy… these are some of the power skills that help to build strong teams and successful businesses.
With all the talk today about AI, it’s comforting to know that not all work skills are linked to technology. According to four project professionals we spoke to for PMI Standards+, it is human capabilities that stand out, the soft, or power skills that need to be recognized and nurtured to improve upon successful project management work.
These essential skills can help you and your project teams achieve your objectives and more effectively collaborate with stakeholders.
Clear and regular communication is critical to ensuring that everyone involved in a project understands their roles and responsibilities. It also helps minimize misunderstandings, which can lead to costly mistakes. In today’s digital world, there is no shortage of ways to communicate project information to stakeholders. From enterprise collaboration tools to text messages, emails, video calls, traditional in-person meetings—how project managers share information with team members and stakeholders can be as impactful as the information itself. To be effective, you need to constantly keep your teams and stakeholders informed and ensure there is a constant flow of information throughout the project’s lifecycle. This will set up parties to be aligned and aware and to ensure that everyone is adhering to the organization’s goals.
Effective leadership will create an atmosphere where a project team is motivated, engaged, and focused on achieving objectives. Project managers must inspire and guide their team, give them the information and training they need, communicate a clear vision and goals, and delegate responsibilities effectively. Good leadership skills can also help build trust and respect among your team, which can lead to better collaboration and higher-quality work. Servant leadership is especially effective, said the project experts we spoke with. Rather than having all decisions come from the top, each operational area working on a project is empowered to make strategic decisions. Often, team members are pigeonholed into certain functional areas, but empowering them to take on broader areas can create welcome outcomes. When a project team is encouraged to make decisions, you can respond more efficiently.
Every project faces unexpected challenges, making the ability to solve problems quickly and effectively essential. As someone interested in ensuring a project’s progress, a project manager must develop strong relationships with a range of people. What happens if an interpersonal conflict arises, for example? That is something that relies on successful collaboration. Learning to lead with empathy and being able to motivate and listen to colleagues is invaluable when it comes to working well together. Ultimately, the ability to understand and feel what another person is experiencing can help your team navigate challenges and keep a project moving forward.
Connecting to our “human” power skills, already embedded in our DNA, helps drive a project’s success. Harnessing these skills and combining them with technical abilities enables you, as a project manager, to deliver top results for your organization and its customers.
(Information included in this article is based on content from PMI Standards+)
Plan Communications Management: Engaging Stakeholders on Time and on Message, with contributions from Adrian Terry, PMP
A Sound Communications Plan Can Help You Avoid Bumps in the Road, with contributions from Frank Gorman, JD, CSM
Case Study: Using Servant Leadership to Empower the Team, with contributions from David Hunter, PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP, PMP
How to Resolve Conflict on Project Teams, with contributions from Nick Clemens, PMP