6 Easy Ways for Project Managers to Boost Their People Skills
By Skornia Alison | minute read
You may be great at your profession. You may have a spectacular list of achievements. But if you lack a few essential soft skills, you won't get too far - in your personal life or professionally as a project manager. Like it or not, social skills are essential survival skills. They let you adjust to varying environments.
To develop people skills, you need to be able to do three things: demonstrate principled behaviour, build relationships and develop strong communication skills. Being a people-person doesn't come naturally to everyone, of course.
Many people have introverted personalities and prefer being "on their own" with everything. Asking for your own personal space once in a while is okay. But being an entirely reclusive person can hurt your potential to go above and beyond - in both your personal and professional life.
The bottom line - you need people in your life!
Despite your personality type, you can find ways to improve your interpersonal skills to build better connections at work (or elsewhere). To become a team player. To improve your reputation. To strengthen your social skills. To strengthen your relationships on projects.
Ready to do all that and more? Try these six ways to develop and improve your people skills.
- Smile Often: Positivity is a magnet. Regardless of how you feel, be on your best behaviour and put on a smile. People-persons manage to control their inner emotions by not only appearing happy on the surface, but also making sure others around them are happy. Greet and smile at anyone you see. You might be surprised when you get the same positive behaviour in return.
- Be Considerate and Caring: It's hard to find people who genuinely care for you. That's why this attribute is something that makes everyone tick. How can you be considerate and caring? Show empathy during good times and bad. Offer a helping hand. Ask people about their day. Actively listen to what they have to say - and respond. Appreciate people. Thank them for the little things they do. Just let them know that you are someone who really cares.
- Don't Pick Favourites: Reclusive personalities tend to "pick" their people. Whatever your preference, just don't be picky if you want to be a people-person. Social personalities don't differentiate people (outwardly). They don't act like one person's opinion matters more than any others. Also, try not to discriminate or gossip about people you don't like. To be a team player, you need to treat everyone the same - no matter what type of response you get in return.
- Resolve Conflicts: Part of being a socially active and friendly people-person is trying hard not to create enemies. This doesn't mean that you won't find people who challenge you and disagree with your views or opinions. Conflicts are inevitable. The way you react to those conflicts, however, is what's important. Be able to resolve conflicts through effective communication and by handling situations properly.
- Improve Your Communication Skills: Being able to communicate carefully can be quite a task. This seriously affects relationships no matter how strong they are. Want to be a good speaker? Don't speak when it's not your turn. In other words, listen when it's your turn to listen. Choose your words carefully by not blurting out every thought. Avoid dishonesty. Keep your words clear and concrete to avoid misunderstandings.
- Make Sure People Have a Great Time With You: What do people like most in other people? Certainly, you have to be kind, caring, considerate and all of the above things. But other personality traits have the power to make someone highly popular. The ability to make others laugh definitely attracts people and puts a smile on their faces.
- This is also a great way to put down barriers other people often put up to avoid "relationship building". Use humour (though not in a rude, inappropriate way), and watch how much it changes your interactions with people.
There you have it. Six easy ways to change the way you communicate. Now you're ready to take your people skills to the next level - both personally and in all your projects.
What about you? Any tips you use to get over being naturally introverted? Share in the comments!
About the Author
Skornia Alison works as a manager at the online tutoring service, Essay Valley, where she helps clients with their academic problems. She provides guidance to them, helping them lift their knowledge and skills.