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Aspiring Project Managers – 5 Skills Giving You The Edgeon 4 April 2016Posted by Andreas Dahlgren
Imhotep. The Egyptian polymath exploited his various areas of expertise – architecture, engineering and medicine – to become one of the most revered figures and minds of antiquity, recognised as the "Father of Medicine," who also project managed one of the great feats of the ancient Egyptians and pre- project management software era: the construction of the Pyramid of Djoser.
As modern-day project managers, what can we learn from Imhotep? Not much, probably. But that isn't to say that we can't take his lead and become polymaths (of a kind) ourselves, striving to develop and attune our own various areas of know-how in order to become better leaders.
Let's discuss some of the skills and behavioural traits can be developed and combined to make a better project manager and leader.
- Leadership style - You may be Authoritarian (Jeff Bezos), Paternalistic (Henry Ford), Democratic (John F Kennedy) or Transformational (Richard Branson), but regardless of what leadership style you gravitate towards, first recognise it, then identify its strengths and weaknesses, considering what examples you can learn from, and what elements of other leadership styles you could benefit from.
- Establish your communication skills - To excel as a project manager, you need to be a master communicator. Both up and down the chain, employees need to be assigned to and collaborate on tasks. Meanwhile, clients and managers need to be kept abreast of developments as the project progresses. Master the art of how to clearly and concisely get your points across, both verbally and in written form. Here, that old adage about thinking fast and speaking slow will often pay dividends.
- Be skilled in your field - To be able to coordinate and think strategically you need to be confident in your area of expertise. Study, keep up with trends, assimilate knowledge from a variety of sources, and keep on doing it. Furthermore, know all the steps of the workflow that lead to the completed project, be they abstract or physical. That is not to say that your expertise should stretch to each of these areas – you must be able to trust in the proficiency of others – but whatever a project's objective, its leader needs to understand the fundamentals of how it’s being achieved, from start to finish.
- Plan everything - Estimating time, cost and staff allocation will be part of your daily challenge, so consider what new areas of knowledge will benefit you, and study them. This may mean learning basic accounting and budgeting, staff management or new software skills.
- Be objective and critical – Never accept ways of working because “that’s the way they have always been done.” Continue to look at procedures and processes with a critical eye, seeking opportunities for improvement wherever they may be. You have developed a strong understanding of the company’s way of operating – use that to your advantage, whether building a pyramid (unlikely) or putting together an ambitious proposal (not so much).
Glasscubes is user-friendly collaboration software for businesses. Connect everyone that you work with in an online workspace which improves the way you share files, manage projects and communicate with each other. For more information please contact us by calling +44 (0)20 3274 2310 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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