As a project manager, you’re probably really good at all the technical aspects of bringing a project over the finish line. Budgeting, scheduling, time tracking and contract creation are your modus operandi. You know how to use even the most complex project tracking software. If someone is confused, unsure or lost in regards to nitty gritty policies or bylaws, you’ve studied them all and have answers.
But project management is so much more than having great hard skills. If you know all these things but don’t have a solid grasp on the soft skills needed to manage and motivate a team; the success of your project will suffer.
In fact, a study from Boston College, Harvard University, and the University of Michigan found that soft skills boost productivity. Investing in training in this area delivers a 250% return on investment; those with stronger soft skills are better workers, enjoy working with others more and are more likely to see a project through completion.
As seeing a project through completion is the core role of every project manager, soft skills should not be overlooked.
Here are the top two soft skills that we believe every project manager should have if they want to boost productivity and see the successful completion of their projects.
As a project manager, you’re always coming up against new problems and challenges—large or small.Perhaps a key stakeholder on your project is sick and there are multiple individuals relying on her that can’t start their work without her approval and involvement.
Or, the timeline you originally estimated for the project just went out the window as new information became available.
Maybe a meeting needs to be rescheduled. Or, two people on your team don’t get along. What's more? The budgeting software you’re using just got acquired and they now want you to pay double...It’s far more likely that issues and problems arise during a project than for it to go exactly as planned. A companion to problem-solving, creative thinking is critical to dealing with these challenges as it helps you look at things from a new, fresh perspective.
The situations above come with no template for how to soIve them; instead, you need to be able to think creatively to find the best way forward. Luckily, creative thinking can be trained.
Your role as a project manager is versatile. You must track and keep on top of to-dos and tasks; and you must be able to lead a team of people to complete a project. Do you think you could get any of this done without clear communication?
According to research from the Project Management Institute, around 90% of a project manager’s time on a project is spent on communication. Since communication is the life blood of every project, poor communication can produce dire consequences. In fact, the resulting negative impacts on a project’s success from missed or poor communication grows steadily as time passes.
So remember that one missing detail you forgot to mention at the beginning of the project? Probably not, since you forgot about it. Well, if you’re midway through a project, you’ll likely only start to see the resulting consequences now.
Fortunately, you can mitigate the risk of problems happening due to poor communication.
In the end, your success as a project manager depends just as much on your ability to creatively problem solve and communicate as it does on your hard skills and technical abilities.
You can work on improving your creative thinking skills through associations, questions, observations, experimentation and networking which will ultimately help you come up with fresh, new ways to solve problems and overcome obstacles.
You can also hone in on your communication skills simply by having a plan, consolidating tools and practicing active listening. Together, these two soft skills will make your life easier as a project manager, and help you achieve project success.
You can use DoneDone to help your team work better, together. From managing projects, to task tracking and handling customer support, DoneDone handles interactions with your team and your customers— all in one place.