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Our INSIGHT newsletters share seasoned advice and fresh insights about many project management topics. We invite you to spend some time learning more about how to make your projects a success.

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March 2011

Dear Colleague:

LeadershipProject management has been a huge growth industry in the past decade. It is a desirable label for many people when redoing their resumes. But what are the key characteristics of a strong, successful project manager?

 

Many companies require candidates to have PMP certification from the Project Management Institute. While this may be considered blasphemous, I don't think that the certification means much when assessing ability. While I agree and understand the importance of the certification to get everyone using the same terminology when discussing project management, it does not mean that a PMP automatically knows how to lead project teams to successful project completion.

 

I feel that having strong soft skills (for example, communication, negotiation, team building, etc.) is a key indicator of a strong, successful project/program manager. I look for candidates with the emotional intelligence to deal with executives, manage disparate stakeholders and motivate a project team. The higher the emotional intelligence, the more likely project managers are to succeed. Please take a look at Toni Ragusa's article on emotional intelligence below for a more in-depth discussion.

 

If you find that you are struggling in identifying project/program managers with strong soft skills within your own organization, please contact Peritius Consulting at 847-808-9999 or info@peritius.com. We would be pleased to discuss your needs with you.

 

At this time, I would also like to welcome Larry Ferrere to Peritius as our executive vice president of business development. He comes to us with more than 25 years of management consulting, executive leadership, business development, and sales and marketing experience. Please contact him directly at 404-647-4571 to learn more about Peritius' expertise, track record and how we could successfully manage your most critical business initiatives.

 

Best regards,

 

Laura Dribin Werner
President & CEO
Peritius Consulting, Inc.

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Peritius
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On October 1, 2010, Integrated Systems Management became Peritius Consulting.


Inside the Project Manager's Mind

By Toni Ragusa, PMP
Senior Manager

 

I have been interested in emotional intelligence for many years. It was first introduced to me in graduate school long ago. The most influential book in the area is Daniel Goleman's book Emotional Intelligence (1995). As a project manager, I have learned that no skill is more necessary to possess in your toolkit than emotional intelligence. It is what makes a good project manager a great project manager.

 

Emotional intelligence is defined by Goleman as "managing feelings so that they are expressed appropriately and effectively, enabling people to work together smoothly toward their common goals."

 

According to Goleman, the four major skills that make up emotional intelligence are:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

Numerous studies over the years have shown that emotional competencies are more important than intellectual abilities. Emotional intelligence frequently includes open communication and proactive behavior.

How Does a Project Manager Use Emotional Intelligence?

Project manager listening to colleagueAs a project manager, we manage people who don't report directly to us. We frequently find the team of stakeholders has a very different agenda than we do. We are given the responsibility of "making it all work" and delivering the project successfully. Thus, a project's success depends upon the project manager's ability to influence and persuade team members and stakeholders on numerous behavioral and emotional levels. In my view, this requires a large degree of emotional intelligence on the part of the project manager.

 

Project management is a highly collaborative undertaking; many times it extends into multi-cultural/global teams. Project managers' skills are more diverse because successfully delivering projects demands it. But the key skill is still the ability to influence stakeholders. This ability has evolved to include the ability to influence stakeholders globally; the sphere of influence of many project managers today is international.

 

Moreover, a project - any project (business or IT) - requires the dreaded c-word: CHANGE! Every project (whether we want to see it or not) introduces organizational changes in order to achieve a desired outcome. The impact of change on end users, stakeholders, project team members and others can be advocated, marginalized or rejected based upon the project manager's leadership. A project manager, therefore, is an emotional guide for stakeholders within an organization through changes.

 

The project manager learns fairly quickly what the organization's motivation and acceptance of change is and subsequently must adapt his or her managing style to effectively implement the change. Many times, the stakeholders are neither inspired nor willing to be led down the change path. Consequently the project manager must, to paraphrase Darwin, adapt or die.

 

Adaptive leadership is another dimension of emotional intelligence. It is the ability to discern and calculate the required degree of transformation required to achieve effective performance and desired outcomes. The marketplace, in general, demands that we, as project managers, make on-the-fly adjustments to build and maintain positive relationships while motivating and focusing others to achieve success. As project managers, we must use our emotional intelligence to build our interpersonal skills and abilities to influence.

 

As all project managers know, the ability to develop and sustain relationships leads to successful project results. Understanding emotional intelligence and honing our own emotional intelligence provides an invaluable edge in building the relationships necessary to excel within the project management profession.


About Peritius

Peritius Consulting is a management consulting firm that helps its clients execute their strategic plans. For over 21 years, Peritius has helped its clients navigate from vision to reality, allowing them to realize their strategic ROI. Please contact us to learn more about how we can help you deliver strategy in the most effective, cost-efficient manner.

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