What are the most important skills that a project manager in an ICT company should have? I have asked myself this question many times, and I am convinced that limiting oneself to the concept of “responsible for managing the work” is very reductive.
Every PM should come with a mix of knowledge, personal skills, tools and working techniques that are useful in meeting the requirements of a project. But not only that: I firmly believe that in order to commit and manage relationships with a client, it is necessary to possess what is known as Emotional Intelligence.
The importance of Empathy
This concept, which came into common use in 1995 with the release of Daniel Goleman’s book entitled “Emotional Intelligence”, has greatly increased the importance of empathy, becoming an important skill not only for managers, but for every customer relationship officer.
The project manager does not only define the scope of a project, manage costs and output timelines, but also deals with client relations, drafting shared documents and team building activities. For this reason, it is crucial to create a relaxed environment in which clients, colleagues, stakeholders, and company management are able to communicate at their best, without friction and with maximum clarity. An environment in which it is easy to handle challenges and make every choice in the right way. But let us now address the individual points in detail.
- Every PM must be able to juggle complex environments, negotiating and collaborating with the various work teams. The ability to build relationships becomes critical to getting the best out of oneself and others.
- Managing change. Every company – not least those in the IT sector – lives through change and constant metamorphosis. For this reason, the project manager must be able not only to build technical solutions in line with customer expectations, but also to be able to understand the impact those solutions may have. Managing change is not always easy; it takes a good deal of self-control and, at the same time, resilience. After all, this is what innovation also means.
- Seeking results: knowing how to manage a project is no longer enough. To achieve a satisfactory result, a good PM must be able to consider their own emotions and those of their work team. Knowing how to manage behaviors can make the difference between a successful project and one that is not completed.
Project management and emotional intelligence: the importance of emotions
As mentioned above, being able to identify moods and being able to give the right weight to things turns out to be very important in our work.
If a PM is stressed and confronts the team after facing a disappointing and stormy meeting, they run the risk of transferring these emotions to their colleagues, reducing their motivation.
This is precisely why you need to be cool about taking time to rebalance your behavior and, only then, talk to the work team. In short, do some work on yourself and manage your emotions.
The importance of communication for a project manager
The ability to communicate with people is definitely one of the most important skills for a PM. Maintaining clear communication about goals, performance, expectations, and feedback can lead to better negotiation skills and improved results.
Through effective communication, team leaders support not only the achievement of individual results but also those of the group; they create well-defined guidelines for achieving results.
Enthusiasm and team-building skills
Let’s be honest, how enjoyable is it to work with positive people, gifted with the so-called “I-can-do-it” attitude? Enthusiasm is contagious, instilling optimism and a healthy dash of calm. It is truly ideal for teamwork!
For a team to work, one must be able to transform a group of strangers into a cohesive unit, to know and understand the dynamics required for such a transformation, to understand different values, styles and characters, and finally to know how to get the most out of each of them.
Ability to handle stress and work under pressure
Working in an ICT company is not easy. Budgets to be met, projects to be delivered on time… We do not live in a perfect world, every action presents problems, which is more or less serious depending on the situation. But that’s not why you have to beat yourself up! A good project manager must know how to react to complexities and live without panicking. Because where a person sees a problem, a PM finds a solution, a possibility to influence the outcome and the ability to leave meaningful change.
Because it is especially in difficult moments that character comes out!
The burden of leadership
Influencing someone, moving minds, promoting change and playing the role of spokesperson is not always easy. One must be able to assess situations, interpret emotions and understand the impact it has on social relations. Positive emotions, in fact, tend to turn into greater productivity and collaboration, while a negative influence can lead to a drastic reduction in collaboration.
But then, how do you interact and keep the team’s attention? With a healthy dose of personality. At Apparound, strengthened by our relationship with colleagues and the ongoing support of Team Leaders and Managers, we are accustomed to working with utmost care on every project. It’s not just a matter of knowing how to make tough decisions based on thoughtful analysis, but also of knowing how to go about it by understanding the impact a given action can have on people. And that is where empathy comes in, because the concept of leadership can never mean dominance or supremacy, but personality and respect aimed at teamwork. Empathy leads to greater collaboration, shared intent, promotes overcoming obstacles, innovating processes, and pushing people toward the achievement of goals.
It is no coincidence that Apparound’s vision is encapsulated in three words: collaborate, innovate, achieve.