Have you ever considered what every newbie project manager should strive to mastery? Are there interpersonal communication, teamwork or technical skills? Well, I do!
Somebody has asked the same question at the one of the business networking portal. I have analysed the answers given by CEO’s, Project Managers, Program/Portfolio Managers, Coaches and Trainers and prepared for you a brief summary. For the sake of this post I have grouped the answers in 12 categories. I encourage you to check results.
The experts have been asked to give the 3 most important basic skills that every newbie project manager should strive to mastery.
It was no surprise for me. The most common answer was that every project manager should “gain the mastery in the interpersonal communication, at all levels of the organisation”. The answer was pointed out by 84% of all respondents. It was a spectacular result. For 60% of them it was the most important skill (they put it on the first place). Effectively, efficiently and accurately were the most used adverbs describing the importance of communication.
“…communicate effectively and accurately.”
Is it also the most important skill for you? For me it is, for sure! The way how we communicate (verbally and nonverbally) determines how we motivate the team and share the good or bad news with higher management. It is crucial to remember that each person is unique and requires dedicated communication channel. The sooner we learn it, the sooner our work will bring us spectacular outcomes.
The second place went to an answer that every project manager should “be accountable, honest, flexible and able to learn from the past experience”. 33% of the respondents answered that accountability and performing lesson learn is very important for newbies.
“..be accountable for whatever you do.”
Nobody likes to work with people who are focused on making excuses. Great leaders use their mistakes and on the basis of collected experience build a new way of working. Some time ago I heard a story about the manager who lost couple of millions of dollars in one project. The company decided that they will not fire him. His next task was to teach others “how to secure for the future and save millions of dollars in other projects”. Sounds like a dream? Maybe, but this is a true story.
Third, fourth and fifth place went to the answers that every project manager should: “gain the mastery in team building, team management, delegating, and empowering the team” (27%), “be productive, conscientious, persistent and committed at work” (24%), and “know how to manage the conflicts” (21%).
“…build your credibility with the team your leading and keep everyone’s eyes on the project’s success criteria.“
These three answers are strongly associated to each other’s. If we want to strive to mastery in team building and team work, we have to be committed. Every manager also need to know how to manage conflicts. Yep, the conflicts are the part of the daily work of every person who manage or lead others. Especially newbies have trouble with that. Wrongly managed conflict might demotivate team members and in the worst scenario, completely ruins authority of the leader.
The answers “develop common sense, and make business driven decisions”, “manage stakeholders and their expectations”, “be a great leader and manager with charisma” reach ex aequo forth place. Being a great leader and manager requires a time. Of course there are people born to be leader but most of us have to learn it. What does it mean exactly to be a great leader or manager? This could be a subject for another separated post. However, I only would like to mentioned that “great” means that we strive mastery in above and then do not forget about below.
Last places (fifth, sixth and seventh) contain answers which refer to “technical skills”. Planning, scheduling, forecasting, measuring are the skills which are important too.
“…master the use of the spreadsheet and develop a reliable and repeatable forecast and spend calculation.”
Every project manager have to learn those and continuously improve. However, those skills are not crucial at the very beginning. In most of the organisations, newbie mangers have mentors or other support. There is no point of spending dozen of hours on learning only those skills. Being great in the communication is fundamental and it will open an easy way to work with people. For other skills…there is always more time.
I hope you enjoyed this short summary. Please share with me your three basic skills which every manager (not only project manager) should strive to mastery. Is the communication also the most important skill for you?