Monday, June 18, 2012

PM Insights: Management Skills & "Soft Skills"

One of our most popular sessions in 2011 was with Terri Dickson, PMP, Program Manager, External Mandates & Compliance Implementation, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield on "Soft Skills in a Virtual Team Environment."

Watch a clip of the session here:

(access the full video by logging in to your account on

Inspired by this, we're including "Elevating the Role: From Manager to Leader" as one of our focus areas this year, with break-out sessions in this topic every day. We've been focusing on leadership for years, as evidenced by this video on attributes of great leaders from ProjectWorld & WCBA 2008:

But how does a manager develop those all important leadership skills, especially in today's world of increasingly virtual work?

This piece in Public Service notes the challenge, saying "I had met many project and programme managers, too many of whom enjoyed the title but lacked the capability." One key takeaway from that article? "A professional may take an economically deterministic view, whereas a true leader takes the people view first."

Forbes joined the conversation as well, with a piece by Stephanie Lischke and Joel Wright which stated that "overlooked leaders are the people who are working on project teams, influencing others and taking on ever-larger and more complex assignments." The post suggested four messages that organizations should give to growing leaders in order to facilitate their development from manager to leader:

1. Think “process,” not “position.”
2. Understand your leadership brand.
3. Take control.
4. You are seen, heard and valued

Project Times focused on the "softer side" of the equation naming Enthusiasm, Empathy and Integrity as some of the key skills a leader should develop. Indeed, in Terri Dickson's PW&WCBA session last year maintaining these qualities even over video and phone conferencing was the suggested role of a virtual team leader.

Important to note: as does this post "PMI's PMP®—has little to do with leadership." OK, Leadership might not show up in the PMBoK, but we feel it's one of the skills that will truly elevate your career and your level of project success. Do you agree? Tweet at us or comment below to join in the conversation.

To elevate your leadership skills, join the "From Manager to Leader" track at PW&WCBA this September. Download the brochure to see all the sessions in this track and learn more. As a reader of our blog we'd like to offer you an exclusive 15% discount off the standard registration rate with code PW12BLOG.

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