It is not an easy task to be an effective project manager because a number of skills, approaches, and strategies have to be developed and offered. The development of such a sensitive undertaking as the Office 2010 conversion requires the managers’ attention and knowledge in the sphere of project management. It is necessary to consider the interpersonal tools and communication strategies and explain them to the chosen project team. It is also important to apply a number of personal skills and effective methods to work successfully with different employees, who have different grades, experiences, and responsibilities. Each worker is a unique source of knowledge and ideas that should be respected.
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The development of interpersonal skills is a crucial step because there are so many working decisions that should be made by a project manager using his/her interpersonal skills like leadership, motivation, communication, negotiation, team building, cultural awareness, etc. The current paper aims at discussing such points like the importance of concrete interpersonal skills, the essence of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator testing approach, tone and texture in communication and the development of other interpersonal skills, and the identification of some communication stoppers that can become a challenge for some project managers.
Identification (Cache) of Interpersonal Skills Important for Project Managers
A good project manager should understand that any kind of work has to be done on the basis of certain requirements: people have to be managed properly, the task should be understood and done well, the tools should be available and clear to a team, and the organizational structure should be defined, and the organizational environment should be properly explained (Kerzner, 2013). This kind of work is complicated indeed, and project managers should develop a number of skills to succeed in their activities. The main skills that can be necessary for a manager of such project as the Office 2010 conversion are as follows:
- Team-building skills: a manager may need to create a team and divide the functions in regards to the abilities of each member;
- Leadership skills: a person should know how to guide people and explain the worth of their work;
- Supportive skills: a manager should know how to motivate the workers, organize negotiations, and resolve conflicts that can take place in a team (internal conflicts) or outside the organization (external conflicts);
- Cultural and even political awareness: a person has to study the events that take place around in order to understand human behavior, expectations, and reactions to different ideas.
All these skills can be gained by a project manager by means of training and learning different theories (Project Management Institute, 2008).
Importance of Interpersonal Skills
The qualities and abilities discussed above are important for a project manager because they may define the outcomes and results of any kind of work. It does not matter if a project manager talks directly to a team or give some indirect orders, the use of such skills is crucial. Misunderstandings may take place anytime, and managers should choose the required skill to solve a problem, choose an appropriate solution, or motivate people to follow a plan. There are cases when people cannot understand why some problems are observed at work.
A properly developed communicative skill and the possibility to solve conflicts may be used in such a situation. As soon as more people appear in a team, or new goals should be achieved, it is necessary to make use of more interpersonal skills and understand how to achieve success with a minimum of losses in a short period of time. Political or cultural awareness and the knowledge of conflicts and negotiations can be applied to realize why some changes take place and how a team may cope with them. A project manager should not only lead people but also explain, motivate, and appreciate the cooperation including different people. The success of any project is hard to achieve without properly developed interpersonal skills and communication.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Testing Approach
However, even if a project manager is confident that he/she possesses the required portion of skills, it is necessary to check the level of readiness to work in a team. There is a special test that can be used by managers individually in order to comprehend their psychological preferences and abilities to work with people, make decisions, and perform work on a necessary level.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a well-known testing approach that has already helped a lot of people to comprehend their insights and identify the methods to interact with others. It is wrong to define this type indicator as a simple test that may or may not pass. It is necessary to comprehend that it is a powerful tool. It does not take much time or knowledge to grasp it. People can use it in different languages and comprehend each word and each idea offered by its developers, Cook-Briggs and Brigss-Myers. Speaking about this tool, it is necessary to admit that all questions are created for normal people (disabilities or other physical or psychological problems have not been considered).
Project managers are able to take it and identify if they are extraverts or introverts, whether they should rely on sensing or intuition if they make decisions based on thinking or feeling, and how they can accept the world, judging or perceiving as it is. Sometimes, it seems that people know the answers to all these questions. However, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator shows that human feelings, emotions, and interpersonal skills are more complicated. People need to work hard to use their skills and improve their knowledge.
Tone and Texture in Communications
Almost every successful manager knows that effective communication is one of the most crucial elements of a good project. It is not enough to communicate properly outside a team. It is more important to promote a thoughtful, communicative process inside a team (Project Management Institute, 2008). People may possess different skills and abilities. Such variety leads to different communication styles, forms, and outcomes. Besides, there are also a number of tones and textures of communication that have to be considered by any manager (Flannes & Levin, 2005). It may happen that people like communicating, working in a team, or controlling other people. Such intentions are supported by a number of interpersonal skills. However, the tone of communication is not as successful as it should be. Project managers should know several tones and textures of communication and use them in regards to the circumstances:
- Something between the lines. This tone informs the participants of communication that something can be hidden between the words. It is necessary to focus on the emotions and consider all possible interpretations.
- Facts and nothing more. This tone is used when only details and evidence matter in a project. There is no place for emotions or feelings.
- Jokes can be also defined as a new tone/texture in communication because the participants may use fun words or simple distractions to facilitate communication and make it more interesting.
All these ideas for communication may be used by a manager, who needs to participate in the project such as the Office 2010 conversion.
It is necessary to remember that any communication, even a perfectly planned one, can be spoiled or stopped because of some unpredictable factors. A good manager should know not only the appropriate tones or textures in communication and use the required interpersonal skills but also try to predict some communication stoppers and understand how to overcome them.
For example, communication may be changed because of evident judging. People are not always able to understand when it is necessary to share an opinion or analyze a situation. Judging can be of different forms and leads to different outcomes. Even if judging is negative, it should not distract people. Ordering and threatening are more communication stoppers that can define the quality of communication. Finally, even name-calling in a conversation may stop the process and change it considerably. All these and many other stoppers play an important role, and a good project manager should know about them to learn how to improve the situation and achieve success.
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In general, the way people communicate and develop their interpersonal skills define the way of how a project can be developed. It is not enough to know how to behave or respond to some actions. Project managers should realize that their knowledge, examples, and skills influence the lives and work of many people. Such responsibility cannot be neglected; that is why the sphere of management has to be constantly developed and improved in regard to human needs and expectations.
Flannes, S. & Levin, G. (2005). Essential people skills for project managers. Vienna, VA: Management Concepts.
Kerzner, H. (2013). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. New York City, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Project Management Institute. (2008). A guide to the project management body of knowledge. Newtown Square, Pennsylvania: Project Management Institute.