While there is a lot of talk about hard skills, I would be focusing on social skills in this article to enhance productivity and boost organizational performance. These skills help us to understand the best application of technical practices in certain situations in real time. They further promote hard skills and go way beyond technical training and cultured disciplines leading to ultimate innovation. Developing these skills keeps you one step ahead in a fast-paced environment.
Social skills are often referred to as behavioural competencies including effective communication, negotiation, creative problem-solving, persuasive power, and much more. These can be associated with the emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) as well – the ability to understand and control the emotions of yourself and the people around you. Let’s take a look at the top 8 social skills every project manager must-have.
I would say that this is the most important social skill of all. Project managers with efficient communication skills are capable of understanding their team members, their routine responsibilities, and any emerging or existing conflicts. On the contrary, when the project manager is unable to communicate their precise expectations, a project becomes more complicated and challenging for the team to complete.
If you are in a phase of developing communication skills, I would recommend you to take out some time every day and understand what your team wants to know along with the most important subjects. At the same time, make an effort to listen to your team and focus on improving the dialogue in general.
2 Building Bonds
Building relationships with your team is not merely important for workplace culture but contributes to overall team productivity as well. Keep in mind good relationships can make a difference. It will help you gain the credibility and trust of your project team. Both internal and external networking is crucial to building solid relationships. However, to achieve this you will need to cultivate the ability to understand and listen.
If you can connect with your team members on interesting subjects, they are more likely to have an open conversation with you. This is how you will gain their confidence in no time. Use this precious connection, listen to their opinions, and ask relevant questions. Strong bonds make the foundation of corporate culture!
3 Collaboration & Cooperation
When a group of people sits together to work on a project with the key objectives and goals, it’s important to ensure collaboration & cooperation among them. A successful project manager actively contributes and cooperate with every team member and keep an eye on the detail. Every member of the project management team should be given access to all the essential information and involved in the decision-making process. From the very beginning, when you work on a project make sure not only to cooperate with your team but promote the culture of collaboration among them as well.
4 Change Catalyst
Project management is a diverse field and you never know what happens next. When working on a project, there can be one or more variables – new technology changes, financial constraints, project complexity, and more. These unpredictable factors can influence the project to a greater extent. Being a project manager, you should understand the change and direct the resources, information, and skills in the best possible way. Stay focused on the objectives to meet the pre-determined milestones and achieve anticipated technical outcomes.
5 Conflict Management
Conflict management strategies make your leadership more effective and easier particularly in challenging situations. These clashes are unavoidable especially when you are managing a larger project team. Differences or conflicts can arise from varied factors such as communication gaps, system interruption, personnel guidelines, uncertain requirements, and more. A successful project manager can manage the conflict situation and ensure the team stays united and focused to achieve the ultimate project goals.
Many project managers depend on direct authority to make the team complete the designated tasks. However, the ability to influence or persuade is a key social skill. Even in challenging situations where you can use the power of authority, I would still say it’s better to control the situation through influence. In this way, the actions and efforts of your team become more willing instead of just being obedient. At the end of the day, your ability to persuade can keep your team together and determined in the long run boosting overall work productivity.
The ability to inspire and motivate is what leadership is all about. A true leader makes every effort to improve the team’s performance. They give constructive criticism for the employees’ wellbeing and project success. To excel in leadership, make sure to keep your cool even in the most challenging or pressurized situations.
As a leader, you should communicate the corporate vision clearly and briefly while providing great opportunities to the team for professional growth and success. They focus on promoting a supportive and healthy workplace culture. If you want to improve your leadership skills, you should figure out creative ways to promote productivity through a regular feedback mechanism. In addition, work on managing stress and you will be able to come up with a confident and composed attitude.
8 Team Capabilities
Nothing can beat team spirit! A project manager should know how to keep the project team together and take them in one direction thus aligning the responsibilities and goals. Team management skills primarily involve managing conflicts, assigning and monitoring responsibilities, evaluating team performance, and training them constantly to improve their skills.
Well, these are the best social skills for a successful project manager to possess. By developing these skills, you can stand out among the crowd and considerably influence the efficiency of project completion.