The researcher found the eight essential people skills after a decade of investigation. The researchers study and review the feedback and opinions from hundreds of industry, government, and academic areas of people. These eight essential skills of people were declared as one of the excellent skills of project leaders for managing tenacious – individuals in any workplace. Project leaders must possess various skills, including solving personnel issues, diagnosing employee attitudes, promoting harmony, reducing dissatisfaction, improving poor performance, and performing other tasks proficiently. In other words, the project leader ensures that people will do what they are passionate about, employees are motivated towards work, provide risk aversion, and teach the technique to manage a difficult boss. These eight skills are designed to help individuals, leaders, and managers while inspecting and coordinating the performance of other individuals.
Who is a Project Team Leader?
A project team leader is also known as a team manager, group leader, supervisor, and last but not least, coordinator. In other words, when any individual oversees the employee’s daily performance, they are called a project team leader. He usually provides guidance, direction, coaching, and motivation to those working harder to achieve a common goal. A team leader is responsible for the productivity and performance of the team.
What Are People’s Skills?
People skills refer to the aptitude of understanding, facilitating, and communicating with people working together to achieve stakeholder expectations, motivating the employee to perform better and achieving team success. Nowadays, people skills in project management are a massive thing essential for project team leaders. Find the eight critical skills that project leaders need to increase the team performance:
Skills 1: Leadership
First and foremost, every project leader must have leadership qualities since he has to lead the team to the highest peak of success. As a leader, he has to understand what the teams want to do along with the quality of his team members. Teams undergo continuous transformations as they discuss objectives, evaluate ideas, and make decisions to achieve predetermined goals. Before commencing a specific project, it is crucial to establish and ensure a shared understanding of tasks and objectives among all team members. Additionally, a leader is responsible for assigning tasks according to individual team members’ abilities.
Skills 2: Motivation
Motivating others is a fundamental aspect of leadership and a crucial soft skill in project management. Motivation is the internal drive to take action, which exists within every individual. As a manager, it is vital to recognize and comprehend the unique motivational factors of each team member to harness them and positively influence their actions. Leaders must remember that actively listening to and providing guidance to team members is more effective than simply giving orders and expecting them to work.
Skills 3: Flexibility
As a leader, knowing when to be flexible and when to be firm on employees is a vital aspect of people management. Leaders can showcase flexibility while practicing management skills by accommodating individual employee needs—such as flexible schedules or remote work options—and allowing employees to adjust their workflow to be as productive as possible.
Analyze the outcomes of each employee; for instance, if one of your employees prefers to finish similar activities in groups while another likes to switch between various tasks. You can encourage both employees to continue utilizing and developing their systems if they operate using separate processes at their highest productivity levels. To improve the workflow for the entire team, ask them to share examples of their unique procedures with other workers. You can guide a worker through the required stages if they need help customizing their process and aid them in finding what works best for them.
Skills 4: Communication
A lack of effective communication can undermine the success of a project. It is crucial to communicate clearly and openly while recognizing that communication is a two-way process. When top-level leadership speaks openly and honestly, it encourages the same level of communication and trust from other team members. Project managers prioritizing transparency create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their concerns, issues, and constructive suggestions.
Furthermore, listening plays a vital role in effective communication. By actively listening, project managers can understand and engage with clients and team members. Mastering clear communication and attentive listening fosters mutual trust among all parties involved.
Skills 5: Conflict Management
Utilizing strategies for conflict management facilitates smoother leadership during challenging periods within a project team. Conflicts are bound to arise, particularly when overseeing a sizable group of individuals. Differences of opinion commonly occur due to resource scarcity, system interruptions, communication breakdowns, personnel policies, and ambiguous requirements. Skillful management of conflicts can foster unity among team members and enhance their dedication toward accomplishing the project’s overarching goals.
Skills 6: Trust-Building
Trust is one of the vital skills of a project leader as a leader cares about earning the trust of their team members. He can earn the trust by sharing information with the members, transparency in decision-making, involving team fellows while making decisions, and more.
Trust-building is a widely respected interpersonal skill because it enables team members to flourish through mutual reliance, whereas those lacking trust often faces difficulties. Believing in the competence and reliability of colleagues, along with their ability to offer sincere feedback, fosters a sense of trust among project team members. This trust, in turn, encourages open and confident communication throughout the entire organization.
Skills 7: Ability to make Decisions
Decisions can be classified into routine, strategic, operational, or emergency categories. Depending on the nature of the decision, project managers employ different criteria and approaches to analyze available options and make judgments.
In decision-making, managers must consider the potential impact on others. When uncertain, seeking input from peers or colleagues is advisable. Project managers who demonstrate the ability to make sound decisions are often trusted by their team members. They achieve this by effectively defining problems, generating innovative solutions, carefully assessing the pros and cons of different options, and bringing together the necessary individuals to implement the chosen solution.
Skills 8: Time-Management
Time skill and organization skills work side by side. A project leader should acquire these skills while leading the team. Every project followed deadlines, and the team and the project leader had to accomplish the task within the selected time frame. To do so, the team leader can create a project timeline and instruct his team members to follow the time cycle.
These are the soft skills needed in any project leader while leading the team toward the goal and objective of the company. However, the project leader has to face multiple issues when leading the team, and he can diagnose these by following a few steps.
How To Correct People’s Problems?
The Wedge Method
The wedged structure is a tool project managers use to visualize and manage team performance. When problems arise, the wedged design helps diagnose whether they are individual, team, or management issues. It also determines if specialized expertise or resources are required from higher levels of management.
In the case of a team issue, such as workplace harassment, the problem is escalated to management, particularly the human resources department, which has the necessary skills and resources to handle legal matters.
For individual employee problems, the ERAM model (Expectations, Resources, Ability, and Motivation) can be used to diagnose the root causes. Team leaders assess whether employees understand expectations, have the necessary resources, possess the required skills and knowledge, and are motivated to perform their tasks.
Once the diagnosis is made, team leaders can develop a clear and measurable action plan for improvement, allowing them to track progress over time.
Emphasize Friendship than friendliness
A successful team leader understands the distinction between Friendship and friendliness. The modern workplace emphasizes horizontal rather than hierarchical relationships. Boundaries between different roles are more porous, and leaders are often on friendlier terms with their subordinates than they used to be, creating a sense of despair among the teams and leaders. Leadership is about being social rather than friends. Think of it this way. Friendliness is a behaviour rather than a relationship.
An emphasis on inclusivity characterizes successful teams. The most effective teams are better than the sum of their parts. They share a common purpose, are committed to working together, and consistently exceed expectations. Whatever their differences, they have one thing in common. They represent inclusiveness. The aim is to keep employees involved in the daily process and always up to date. Making people feel connected is one of the most important human elements in building a successful team.
Get Rid of Poor Performance
A team leader must address poor performance, even though it may be challenging. The “past, present, future” model can help team leaders guide troubled employees back on track. The model consists of three stages, each representing a scene in a movie. In the first scene (the past), active listening is crucial, allowing the employee to share their story while being held accountable by providing evidence. In the second scene, a diagnosis is provided to identify the root cause of the problem, whether it’s a resource issue or a personal matter. A reality check is then offered to contextualize the situation and remind employees of applicable rules and regulations. Finally, in the third scene (the future), the focus shifts to finding solutions and improvement. Questions are posed to employees regarding what they can do to improve, and concrete targets are set for evaluation.
These three models are practical approaches to guide employees through problems and facilitate improvement.
You Can’t Beat Fear, but you can Manage it
Business is all about risk-taking. It can not be beaten, but it is possible to manage it. Measuring the risk, and analyzing the market before taking any decision, are done to avoid risk. However, no matter how much analysis is done, there will always be uncertainty about the outcome. There are a few uncertainties of risk-taking, such as the first is the circumstance, as the challenges of a risky move cannot be predicted. The second is ability, as there is concern about whether one’s skills and talents will be sufficient to handle the situation. The third and most basic Fear is the Fear of failure. A leader plays an ideal role; he has to take risks; risk-takers are not fearless, but instead, they have learned to manage their Fear. It parallels firefighters who face threats in their job but manage their Fear by focusing on the opportunity to help people. Additionally, firefighters prepare and train themselves for emergencies, highlighting the importance of preparation in managing Fear.
Successful project managers must have these strong people skills while dealing with various challenges, such as coping with under-performers, establishing appropriate boundaries with team members, and managing relationships with superiors. Project managers who master these eight crucial people skills can foster teamwork and develop equitable rapport while addressing their teammate’s apprehensions.