10 Intangible skills and behaviors project managers should possess

10 Intangible skills and behaviors project managers should possess

Project management intangible skills and behaviors

As a project manager, you can get a degree or certification in project management, learn all the methodologies, memorize the PMBOK and master all the collaboration tools. But if you haven’t developed at least three or four of the intangible skills and behaviors mentioned below, then project management can be challenging or outright difficult. Let’s have a look at them:

A sense of humor
While project management is a serious endeavor, it doesn’t mean project managers shouldn’t have a sense of humor. In fact, Project managers at all cost should develop a good sense of humor. Humor and banter are excellent outlets to relieve stress and diffuse tensions during difficult situations. Humor is the oil that lubricates the project management machine and purifies the stressful atmosphere in the work place.

To develop a sense of humor you may want to read some of our project management humor.

A sense of Empathy
It is the key that connects every human being….and yet it is an attribute that lacks in today’s workplace! You can be the most disciplined, brilliant or a hard-working project manager, but if you do not care about others, you cannot socialize and connect with your team. Understanding the needs and requirements of your project is one thing. But understanding the needs of your team members is a whole different ball game.

So, developing a sense of empathy can help project managers to communicate effectively with team members and makes the coaching and mentoring of individual team members easy.

Time management skills
Knowing how to manage minutes, hours, and any deadline without stress is essential to manage and deliver your projects on time and within budget. Time management is not just about planning your project ahead, creating a Gantt chart or noting milestones on a calendar.  As a project manager one should be able to manage his time daily by planning the day, avoiding distractions, anticipating changes, conducting brief and to the point meetings and allocating the right amount of time to strategic tasks.

Ask help when needed
Too often, out of pride and fear of passing for an incompetent or weak, we prefer to shut ourselves up rather than seek help from coworkers. This is a huge error project managers make. By not asking for help and remaining in the dark and making unnecessary mistakes can have consequences to your project or career. In fact, the reality is that when you ask for help or information from someone, you validate his expertise and know-how at the same time. This person will be flattered by your question.

Self-compassion
Too often and unfortunately, we are very hard on ourselves when things go wrong. In life and in project management the truth is that things can and often go wrong.  But, a calm sea never made a skillful sailor. So, it is during these difficult times an ideal and capable project manager takes up the challenge, seeks solutions, and solves the problem without being hard on himself.

So, as a project manager, to develop self-compassion be kind to yourself when things go wrong and celebrate when things go right or remind yourself when things are working out!

Knowing when to shut-up
As a project manager, in certain situations it can be easy to be annoyed and nervous, and then be tempted to say something negative or give an angry remark. However, a wise project manager knows when and how to shut up when the situation demands it. Any project manager worth his salt has regretted to have said something on a touchy topic. But he also knows it is not worth while making enemies with the project sponsor, the big boss or the client.

Active listening
Knowing how to shut up is one thing. Listening to others is another … If you cannot, it’s never too late to learn! It is not enough to listen the words of your colleague. As a project manager, one should listen and look for non-verbal cues, body language and also assure the other party that you are listening. How? Just repeat what you have just heard to the person you are talking to. A mimicry that may seem redundant but which assures them that you have listened – and therefore well understood – what you are told.

Honesty and integrity
Knowing when to shut up doesn’t mean that you should lie or withhold information. Honesty is and will always be the best policy, in life and in project management. Honesty and integrity is crucial to move forward your project and your team. For a project manager, it is essential to give honest and constructive feedback to his team members, clients or stakeholders so that they and the project move forward.

Learning a new language
Speaking several languages has always been an asset, especially in project management. Today every country’s economy is dependent to each other and interconnected. We live in a world where your developers are in India, project manager in Europe and the CEO in US. More and more projects involve collaboration with remote teams based all over the world. So, Bonne chance for your projects and new language adventure. Hasta la vista!

Public speaking
Whether it is at a project kick-off meeting, a client presentation, a conference of shareholders, or just a dinner party or whenever you have to speak to an audience, knowing how to express yourself with clarity and eloquence is an essential quality to become a convincing and persuasive project manager. Good public speaking skills can have a huge impact on the management of your projects.

With some self-awareness, hard work and little training (specially for languages and public speaking, a project manager can develop routines and reflexes to develop these intangible as well as important skills and behaviors.