As a project manager, it’s important that both your team and partners understand what makes you the most qualified person for your next build. However, it may surprise you to learn that while education and experience certainly factor in, an increasing trend in the project management industry is the desire for better “soft skills” – the interpersonal contact and attention to detail that so many industries overlook in an increasingly digital world. Read on to learn about some of the soft skills you need to cultivate to find success as a project manager in today’s world.
Conflict Management and Resolution
When you are working with a team of people, you are bound to encounter some disagreements, both within your own team and between outside resources you deal with regularly for your work. It’s important to have the skills that allow you to not only manage the conflict before it grows too large, but also resolve the issue as much as possible.
Consider setting up regular check ins with your team to find out what types of issues they are experiencing on the job, as well as any conflicts they think are likely to rise in the future. By taking the pulse of your team, so to speak, you will have a much better handle on problems as they arise, rather than scrambling to control them later.
You may also want to establish a chain of reporting issues for your entire team. If one team member gets a phone call from the city asking for a permit you didn’t think you would need, who can that team member go to in order to ask questions and find answers? If two team members think they are each responsible for the same task, how can they go about finding accurate information about who does what job? Providing this guidance to your team will assist you in managing conflicts quickly, and resolving them effectively.
Are you a detail-oriented person? You will need to become one if you want to succeed in the project manager goal. There are numerous software/app options available for you to track all the moving parts of your team and your project. However, it is important to note that information is only useful as long as you take the time to understand it. Make sure you understand the information your system is giving you. Once you have a handle on the type of data you receive and what it means, you can set goals for your project that will allow you to track and measure progress throughout the build.
While flexibility is an important part of each project, you will also want to establish some routines and strategies that will already be in place before your project begins. We have already emphasized the importance of quality communication, which relies heavily on your organizational skills. Creating a solid plan that can be adapted as needed is your best bet for organization success.
This is another example of information that is only useful if everyone understands it. In order for your routines to work, your team must be aware of them, and have the tools and resources to adhere to them. Review your strategies on a regular basis – is there something that always slips through the cracks because of lack of organization? Shore up any weak spots and continue to reevaluate your methods as your project progresses.
Not everyone considers themselves a “people person.” In a largely digital age, it is easy to maintain little to no interpersonal contact if you really want to avoid it. However, more and more experts are referring to these interpersonal skills as some of the most important to investors and team members – and they are also the least practiced.
You don’t have to become the world’s greatest party host to hone your people skills. Stick to the basics – make eye contact when speaking to others. Shake hands when you meet someone. Be an active listener – this means everything from the responses you give to the physical way you are sitting or standing. If you struggle with any of these skills, practice them. You might even practice with your team, just to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Your people skills also extend to your team members. You may not be able to memorize every detail about everyone on your team, but a little effort goes a long way. Greet people by name, and try to remember something specific about them – maybe it’s the name of their spouse, or the country they come from, or even how they take their coffee. These little details add up to a big interpersonal experience.
About Impact Construction Management
Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Impact Construction Management is a full-service construction management firm. Founded by Louis Buonaiuto and Richard Bowlin, Impact Construction Management has been managing construction projects for clients throughout the Midwest and South for over 10 years. From our very first project to today, our focus has been on delivering the results our clients want by providing responsive service, up-front pricing and the highest-quality workmanship.