Project Management – Soft Skills

As some of you might know, one of the things that rings true to my heart is project management. I am not really sure why, perhaps it is its relationship to control, leadership, responsibility. Who knows..? All values that I recently learned to be part of who I am..:)

Either way, let’s get to the heart of things…

As usual, I am spending the evening rummaging through different articles and blogs looking for interesting content and tonight I have found two I wanted to share.Well, I really wanted to share one specifically and then realized I had to probably explain the concept first.

So first, let’s talk about Soft Skills.

As defined by WhatIs, Soft skills are:
personal attributes that enhance an individual’s interactions, job performance, and career prospects.

This starts to dabble in socially and psychology, both topics that are way above my head but both topics I’m quickly learning to respect and recognize as critical pieces of the project management puzzle.

WhatIs goes on to explain Soft Skills can be divided into two attributes, personal and interpersonal.

Characteristics of the personal attributes include:

  • optimism
  • common sense
  • responsibility
  • a sense of humor
  • integrity
  • time-management
  • motivation.

While characteristics of interpersonal attributes include:

  • empathy
  • leadership
  • communication
  • good manners
  • sociability
  • the ability to teach.

I could go on to break down Soft Skills further but I think these bullets clearly and succinctly articulate the concept.

As some of you might be wondering there is also the concept of Hard Skills, but that will have to be a topic for a different post. Note though that Hard Skills are traditionally more tangible.

It is often said that you normally get a job with hard skills and you keep the job with soft skills.

Either way, the reason I wanted to explain Soft Skills is so that I can share with you some insight I read about 10 New Rules for Project Managers that I found enlightening. If you’re interested in reading more about soft skills you can visit this site, Bas de Baar shares a little more of his thoughts on the subject.

Either way, 10 New Rules for Project Managers, by Hal Macomber, recommends the following for all project manager and I tend to agree with them:

  1. Embrace Uncertainty
  2. Listen Generously
  3. Collaborate. Really Collaborate
  4. Coordinate Meticulously
  5. Tightly couple learning with action
  6. Build relationships intentionally
  7. Keep your eyes on the overall project promises
  8. Take care of your project team
  9. Stay close to your customer
  10. Adopt practices for exploring variety of perspectives

I don’t want to plagiarize his entire site so I encourage you to visit his site and study up on the descriptions for each rule. I think you’ll come to agree with me that they make sense and if you’re like me, might find ways to incorporate some if not all of them in your day to day processes.

In case you don’t see the connection, I added the section on soft skills above because I believe most, if not all, the rules above apply to it.

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