Project management is about so much more than managing projects. Sure, there's a lot of skill involved, and the better your subject matter knowledge, the easier it will be to identify and mitigate certain risks, but a big part of your success as a project manager is linked to your communication skills and EQ.
Unfortunately, these so-called 'soft skills' aren't given the importance they deserve in the workplace. Which means that many people never learn them, causing a lot of frustration for people like project managers, whose job it is to get people they don't directly manage, to cooperate with them.
In cases like this, mentorship is a powerful teaching tool. If you are the leader of a project management team, you probably already play the part of a mentor or coach to your team. They'll look to you for cues on how to communicate, how present project plans, and how to handle conflict.
If you would like to be more intentional about mentoring your project management team, here are some tips:
#1. Give yourself time to prepare and plan
It'll probably be difficult to find extra time, but if you can give yourself 30 minutes or an hour here and there to plan some 'lessons' for your team, you'll see the results pay off in no time. If negotiation skills seems lacking in your team for example, you might be able to find an online video course, or a good book to share with the team.
#2. Do it as a team, rather than individually
There's a lot to be said for one-to-one mentorship, but in a team environment it could lead to feelings of favoritism and jealousy. Rather use the opportunity to get everyone in a room together and build a sense of community. If people feel safe enough to share their challenges, others might step in with solutions and advice. This is a great way to build in-formal mentoring relationships and boost team morale. Just make sure to avoid negativity.
#3. Don't let it become a venting session
We all know how frustrating it can be when the same person refuses to cooperate or delivers late, but as the manager, you need to control your team. Don't let these learning sessions become negative or slanderous. This is just a waste of energy all round.
#4. Be adventurous
There are many different ways you can teach your team. You could watch videos together, read books, join webinars, complete free online courses, or even invite speakers from inside or outside your organization. The point is that mentorship doesn't need to be a huge drain on you. There are lots of materials available for you to use!
#5. Offer individual advice when needed
Keep an eye out for team members who may be struggling more than others, or who don't seem to be participating in group discussions. They may need a little bit of extra advice or encouragement.
#6. Lead by example
No matter what you do, your team will still look to you as the example of how to act. Let them see and learn from your approach to planning, communication or conflict management. Teach them how to set up templates, use your project management software properly, and share examples with them.
We believe in keeping things simple when it comes to project planning. So, we built an easy-to-use, cloud-based project management solution.
It integrates with Salesforce and Servicemax, making deployments within these environments simple and cost effective.
Viewpath is hosted in the cloud, so there’s nothing to download. Simply log in to view team availability, assign tasks and collaborate with teams in real time – no matter where they’re based.