As the corporate world is evolving for the better, the dimensions of project management are also witnessing major overhauls. The progression of the contemporary business world is quite synonymous with rampant digitalization. With technology at the helm, both companies and projects are now going remote. Having said that, it is time that project managers undertake the objective of incorporating project management skills desired for the future.
It is an undeniable fact that, alongside transformations in the corporate world, the competition is also growing at a swift pace. Ultimately, it all boils down to the parameters of skills that are meant for future success. Organizations will look to invest in people equipped with skills relevant to the future. So, irrespective of whether you are already working as a project manager or you aspire to be one, the last thing you would want to do is to be complacent about your skills.
No matter how skilled you are at present, to succeed in the long run, you need to upskill yourself. It will help you build competencies in alignment with how the corporate scenario is shaping. You need to invest in your skills today so that you can relish great success in the future.
Having said that, this thoughtful blog sheds light on the pivotal project management skills that are salient for future success. So, let’s elaborate on the verticals of project management that you need to focus on keeping your future career ambitions in mind.
Salient project management skills for future success
1. Virtual collaboration skills
Remote project management is the new normal in this revamped business world. It is quite evident that more and more businesses will take the remote or hybrid route in the coming years. In fact, a Gartner CFO survey concludes that by 2025, 74 percent of employers might shift their employees to permanent remote work. Clearly, the remote working culture will thrive at a greater momentum in the near future.
As a project manager, you need to work on skills that are crucial to successful remote project management. Speaking of the prerequisite skills for remote project management, virtual collaboration skills will hold the key. You will have to collaborate virtually with your team members and coordinate with much greater efficiency.
It is noteworthy that as per SalesForce, 86 percent of employees cite ineffective collaboration as the principal reason for project failures. In remote project handling, the vulnerabilities of project mismanagement will be even higher. Having said that, your virtual collaboration skills have to be flawless and should set an ideal template of collaboration for other team members to follow.
Your effectiveness at collaboration in the remote setup will have a critical role to play in the success of projects. Moreover, you also need to work on your adaptability skills to get used to the latest project management tools and software that will drive remote project management. State-of-the-art project management tools hold the key to the future of project management and you ought to briskly adapt to the latest tools in practice.
2. Open communication
Effective communication is and will always remain the key to organizational success at all levels. But in remote projects, the significance of open and elaborative communication will be much greater than ever before. Clear descriptions and instructions need to be communicated across digital channels with great effectiveness.
Thus, you need to further optimize your communication skills to attain the anticipated future success. The focus needs to be on open communication such that every team member understands project details, instructions, roles, and key performance indicators with precision.
Besides, you need to espouse the art of continuous feedback sharing to manage team performance. Needless to say, for this purpose too, you would require excellent communication skills. Projects will have the best chance of succeeding when faultless communication happens at all levels. It will ensure that team members are on the same page and have a sense of direction.
Being at the helm, open and transparent strategic communication will be your responsibility. In fact, when it comes to communication skills, there will always be a scope of improvement, no matter how proficient you are. This is one skill for which you should commit yourself to consistent learning. Also, you ought to bolster your communication skills with active listening and attention to detail.
3. Effective cost management
You may otherwise have great abilities to manage and motivate teams, but if you are not very effective at cost management, it can turn out to be a roadblock in your career advancement. Cost is a key concern for organizations and the idea often is to deliver successful projects in accordance with lean budgets.
Therefore, to attain greater success as a project manager, you need to consolidate your budgetary planning skills along with a 9/80 work schedule. You need to learn how projects can be budgeted in an efficient manner while also taking contingencies into consideration. In the ultimate sense, your value as a project manager will be viewed in terms of your ability to deliver excellent projects at low costs.
The lower the cost of projects, the greater will be the profitability of an organization. Coherent to that, the greater will be your career advancement. In fact, in the coming years, project costs will be a key criterion for the success of businesses. It will emerge as an even more important differentiating factor for businesses to compete with each other.
The onus will be on the project managers to stick to the designated budgets. In fact, you should be the one suggesting smart cost-cutting ideas to your employer without compromising on project quality.
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4. Emotional intelligence
The demand for emotional intelligence is growing at an exponential pace in the contemporary corporate world. In the coming years, we will see the relevance of EQ in the workplace amplify further. To substantiate, as per PR Newswire, more than 65 percent of people think that EQ in the workplace is either equally important or more important when seen in contrast to IQ. To add, 95 percent of HR managers believe that it is important that employees have EQ.
EQ is the ability of an individual to manage and control their emotions in an effective way to produce positive outcomes. Besides, people with high EQ are also proficient in steering the emotions of others in a positive direction to lead them to the desired results. It is an exceptional skill to have and certainly, there is a dearth of people with high EQ.
If we look at most people around us, they are vulnerable to being overdriven by negative emotional influences. It is common for people to feel overwhelmed by their emotions at times and end up making regretful decisions. However, such mistakes cannot be made when you are leading projects that are crucial for your organization. Emotional intelligence is highly quintessential for people in leadership roles.
As a project manager, you need to channel the emotions of your team in the right direction, such that their emotional influences do not interfere with the progress of the project. Also, you need to be empathetic towards your team members and respect their emotions.
Also Read: 4 Creative Team-Building Activities
In an empathetic team culture, they will be able to sideline their emotional insecurities and focus on their tasks. It is noteworthy that empathy is one of the most prominent traits of a high EQ. In fact, EQ in itself is a spectrum of different skills, each of which is essential for career success. The key components of emotional intelligence besides empathy are listed below.
- Intrinsic motivation
- Social Skills
As you can see, each of the above skills defines the modern-day core competencies of managers and leaders. This explains why employers and recruiters are now inclined toward hiring managers that promise exemplary emotional intelligence. EQ is a skill that can make you stand out from others. In fact, going into the future, it will emerge as one of the most imperative career skills for success and advancement. You have to make sure that you work on this crucial aspect of skill-building.
5. Critical Intellect
Jumping to conclusions without assessing the available information and verifying facts can be disastrous, isn’t it? This coming from a project manager can undoubtedly spell trouble for any organization. As a project manager, you will always have the added responsibility to examine the details and information in an intellectual way. In simpler words, you will need excellent critical thinking skills to perform with great efficiency.
Given the fact that every project is of key significance to an organization, you cannot simply choose to run through things. You need to act with attention to detail and critically evaluate all project details to streamline processes and set the course of action for a given project. Critical intellect is in direct correlation with responsible and appropriate decision-making.
Moreover, another trait of critical thinkers is that they take everyone’s perspective into account before making decisions. From the perspective of project management success, it is imperative that project managers promote inclusiveness in decision-making. When you lead a team, you need to give each team member a strong sense of cohesion and belonging. You can do that best when you have distinguishable critical thinking skills.
The more critical your thinking gets as a project manager, the more optimized the outcomes you will be able to produce in terms of successful projects. It is an essential skill for people in leadership and managerial roles as it directly impacts their ability in terms of team management and intellect.
Besides, being a critical thinker, you will have a more productive and intelligible approach to resolving conflicts in your team. Conflicts among team members are a common phenomenon, and conflict resolution is one of the key metrics for evaluating project managers. For success across all these metrics, you need to be an extraordinarily critical thinker.
Creativity is the foundation of stellar innovation and exceptional problem-solving abilities. Project managers need to be at the best of these capabilities at all times and hence, creativity becomes quintessential for future success. In fact, LinkedIn Learning infers that creativity as a career skill is of utmost significance across all domains. Moreover, as per IBM, a majority of CEOs are of the opinion that creativity will be the single most important factor driving future success.
Having said that, to prosper your career in the competitive domain of project management, you need to complement your expertise with class apart creativity. You would need to innovate at different stages of projects to optimize the process and the ultimate outcome. Along similar lines, you will have to navigate through challenges to ensure project success. Needless to say, almost all projects involve some complicated challenges that you need to overcome swiftly.
As long as you have a strong creative intellect, you can deal with project complexities in an impressive and brisk manner. Besides, you will also have to overcome team management challenges in addition to project complications. This explains why organizations will prioritize project management candidates that display exemplary creative intellect. It is time you pay greater heed to the development of your creative and problem-solving skills.
Project managers are no less than leaders and leaders ought to display great resilience. If you envisage enormous success as a project manager over the coming years, you need to supplement it with resilience. It is your ability to withstand adverse situations, pressing problems, and challenges that will establish your worth as a leader.
Your team members will look up to you for support and guidance during adversities. You ought to inspire them to embrace the challenges and bring out the best in them. Besides, you need to model for them how one can sustain productivity and focus when things are not going right. For that, you need to have a character with distinct resilience and conviction.
We all witnessed how things began to fall apart at the advent of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. Those who were resilient enough to face such an unexpected challenge did far better in terms of coping than others. Resilient leaders were at the forefront of damage control that businesses had to bear in the face of the pandemic.
To continue, organizations would not be much interested in appointing project managers that crumble under pressure or challenging scenarios. They will rather be on the lookout for resilient and motivated leaders who can embrace challenges and keep their team morale high in a crisis. Interestingly, contemporary organizations are striving hard to build resilient workforces. So, if resilience is a key trait of your personality, you will, by default, have a competitive advantage.
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To recapitulate, the corporate world is undergoing some paradigm shifts, and corresponding to that, the perception of prerequisite career skills is also changing. Speaking of project management specifically, as the trend of remote projects thrives further, project managers will need new dimensions of upskilling for future success. If you want to give yourself a competitive advantage over others amid the growing competition, the essential project management skills mentioned above will pave the way forward. To get to know more of the soft skills a project manager should possess and how to hone them, read this article by Toptal.
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Jessica Robinson is a charismatic corporate leader, a selfless educator, and a versatile content creator. Despite a management degree, her vision behind blogging is not only to follow her passion but to create more informed societies. Her selflessness reflects in every piece of her work on The Speaking Polymath.