Are you hesitant to call yourself a project manager because you feel you are missing some kind of education, certification, or experience with that job title?
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Today, we are talking about what it means to be a project manager, and why some of you are hesitant to assign that title to yourselves. What does it take to be a project manager, and are you a project manager but not using the title? Should you up-level your title if that is the skill set and title that aligns with you the most?
I want to invite you to Scope Creep Solution which will be taking place at the end of March. It is a 5 day sprint to help you to manage your projects, set them up, and deal with changes that may occur.
Should you Add Project Management to Your Title?
Many of you have a project management skill set, and are natural project managers. Yet, perhaps you don’t have formal training or education, so you skip the title.
I can relate; I have been a project manager my entire life but I never felt like I had the liberty or strength to call myself that until someone from my corporate experience recognized it, and put me into that position. I had massive imposter syndrome as I started this new role because I didn’t have the designation that all of my peers had. Yet, after a few months in that role, I was outperforming several formally trained project managers, and it all had to do with my natural skillset.
“I was defeating myself because I didn’t have the education and training that my peers had, but as I reflected over my life, I had managed time, resources, people and goals with ease.”
It took me a decade into my corporate career before I could see that connection. I’m hoping today’s episode will help you shortcut your ability to see your amazing skills for what they really are.
As we begin, I want to emphasize the difference between a project management skill set and a project management profession/title.
If you have the project management skill set you will probably recognize this from early in your childhood. If you were a lover of lists, and enjoyed leadership positions in which you managed people… you likely have a project management skill set.
If you have had the title, you may have gotten a certification or held the title in a work setting.
I felt I couldn’t own the title until I actually worked in the role, but you can likely call yourself a project manager based on the roles you work in today.
“I’ve seen lots of people who have the skill set of project management not leverage that title, and I’ve also seen plenty who had the title but lacked the skill set.”
What Makes a Project Manager?
There are three different areas that make a project manager: hard skills (technical/learned skills), soft skills (innate/natural skills), and your traits (the features of your character).
These are skills that can be learned and they build off your soft skills and your traits.
- Creating a project plan: Do you have the ability to create a project plan?
- Risk Management: Are you good at identifying things that come with a risk? Can you identify trouble ahead?
- Forecasting and planning: Can you forecast and plan? Can you see ahead to identify problem areas relating to deadlines, and adapt the plan to accommodate for that?
- Technical tools: Can you figure out almost any technical tool? Can you create processes or SOPs around technology?
- Task management: Are you good at task management? Do you have the ability to take a project and break it down into smaller plans, goals, tasks, and actions so they are capable of being managed?
“If people have called you bossy, thorough or organized, all of that boils down to the fact that you have been an excellent task manager your entire life.”
These are all skills you can develop over time.
Soft skills are innate and natural; they are your God-given skill set that you were born with.
If you identify with the following six characteristics, it’s time to start calling yourself a project manager.
- Leadership: This is the backbone to our Director of Operations certification program. If you are a great leader, you will be able to sit next to a CEO. I believe you can continue to press your limits when it comes to leadership. You will be leading a team, and people need a trusted resource that they can rely on. Can you lead and inspire others involved in the project?
- Communication/Interpersonal skills: This is the ability to understand and be understood. Can you speak up on behalf of the team, and practice empathy?
- Teamwork: This is the ability to make teams work. Are you gifted with the ability to read emotions, and to monitor the motivations of others? You need to get to know people on an individual level to be able to help them to be successful in the project. Do you cast a vision and promote inclusivity that will bring everybody on board i.e. an “all-in” mentality?
- Resolving conflict: There are so many tasks that go into any project, and you will inevitably run into conflict. Do you have the ability to defuse and resolve a conflict? Can you be bold, be kind, and speak up when conflict starts to occur? Can you negotiate between two parties, be flexible, and help them see how you can solve a problem without a meltdown?
- Prioritization: Do you have the ability to do the right thing, at the right time? The majority of this skill lies in your ability to be strategic.
- Organization: Can you bring order to chaos, sorting things out, & staying on top of everything? This one is non-negotiable!
These are the features of your character.
- Individuality: Do you know your team and how they work?
- Engaged: Do you keep people in the loop?
- Curiosity: when creating the project plan, do you stay curious and ask deep questions without trying to control the answer?
- Details: Are you detail oriented?
- Optimistic: This will take you far in this space because there is very rarely a straight line from beginning to end within a project. Do you display optimism when the unexpected occurs?
- Encouraging: Are you encouraging to your team members? Do you have empathy?
- Decisive: Once you use hard and soft skills to perform, being decisive is the by-product Can you recognize this in your leadership style?
- People person: Do you like working closely with people?
- Simplify and break down: Can you take a big vision with lots of minutia and simply communicate it to your team?
So how do you measure up? Do you possess many of these skills? If so, go ahead and give yourself a “promotion” to a project manager!
Don’t forget to join us for The Scope Creep Solution, where we will spend 5 days talking all about project management, zeroing in on how to defeat scope creep in your projects.
Weekly Ops Activity
How many of the six soft skills do you have? To recap, the soft skills are: leadership, communication, teamwork, resolving conflict, prioritization, and organization. Come on into The Ops Insiders Facebook Group, and drop your number!
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