11 Must-Know Collaboration Skills for Project Managers [Guest Post]
Project managers are a critical part of every project. Those leaders call on a range of skills to unite their team and move the project forward – but exactly which collaboration skills are essential? Here’s a look at the 11 collaboration skills project managers have to master.
Why Do You Need to Build Collaboration Skills?
Project managers often find themselves leading teams filled with diverse profiles and personalities. It’s critical that project managers are able to bring those individuals together, make sure that everyone collaborates efficiently, and draw out their best work.
That’s often easier said than done, though. According to a Wellingtone survey, poorly-trained project managers are one of the top three project management challenges.
This means project managers can’t rely upon their innate skills and abilities – they need to identify the appropriate collaboration skills and make a conscious effort to develop them.
When a project manager hones the right collaboration skills, they become more effective leaders. They are better able to make their team feel great and focus on producing quality work.
11 Must-Know Collaboration Skills for Project Managers
Here’s a closer look at the most important collaboration skills for project managers.
1. Communication Abilities
Project managers have to make themselves understood at all times. If an important project detail is lost in translation, there will inevitably be some serious issues that emerge further down the line.
Communication skills help project managers to clearly share and understand information. This ensures the entire team is aligned and working together in harmony.
Project managers should develop their verbal and written communication skills as a priority. They should also hone their knowledge in a range of specialist areas so that they can speak, for example, with their video engineer using the right terminology.
2. Inspiring Leadership
Project managers must lead by example on every project. Their energy and understanding are the driving force behind each project and often determine its quality. This is why project managers should be looked to as powerful and inspiring leaders.
Sophisticated leadership skills can help to enhance the productivity and general performance of a team. Strong leadership skills can transform a project and that’s why 83% of organizations say it’s important to develop leaders at all levels.
Project managers should be inspired to think carefully about their current leadership abilities and where they need to strengthen their skills to get the most from their team.
3. Emotional Intelligence
We all know that project management is a complex and demanding undertaking. It’s important, though, that project managers never let their emotions get the better of them – this can lead to resentment and low levels of productivity throughout the team.
To avoid losing their cool, project managers need to develop emotional intelligence. They should learn to become more self-aware and empathetic to understand the emotional energy within their team.
The best project managers can read the energy levels and sentiment within their team and guide it in the right direction. Those project managers keep their team happy and motivated to continue exceeding targets.
Every project manager wants their team members to be reliable. Reliability is an important asset because it means that people are trustworthy and can be expected to perform to a consistent level.
It’s also very important that project managers are reliable. Team members can only perform to the best of their ability when they know that they are working for an inspiring project manager who has complete control over the project.
This is why project managers should really meditate on the concept of reliability and aim to deliver. Ron Kurtus offers an excellent exploration of reliability.
5. Love for Collaboration
Every person is unique when it comes to their ability to collaborate. Some people are born team players who reach new heights while working with others, while some people prefer to go it alone.
Modern projects are often incredibly complex, though, and seamless collaboration between team members is essential to success. A range of profiles must pool their talents to achieve the desired results.
Project managers should make an effort to understand what it means to collaborate effectively. They should regularly assess their performance and find new ways to grow their own love for collaboration.
6. Technical Know-How
Project managers have to manage multidisciplinary teams, so it’s essential that project managers cultivate a level of knowledge in a range of areas. This gives project managers the ability to speak confidently with all stakeholders and understand what’s possible.
A great project manager will be able to speak about the Adobe suite, for example, and know what it’s capable of. This means that project managers are able to confidently bridge the gap between the client and their team.
Project managers must also be able to use project collaboration tools to organize and track their team. Learn more about the 30+ best project collaboration tools.
7. Problem Solving Abilities
Project managers will often find that a lot of their time is spent putting out fires in different places. They might have to handle an urgent client request in one moment, before quickly handling a budgetary issue with another project.
This type of work would make most people uncomfortable, but project managers are able to power through. The project manager’s ability to handle problems as they arise keeps the team collaborating seamlessly.
Project managers are the focal point for every project. They communicate with the client and interpret their instructions and feedback before relaying it to their team. This is why it’s so important that project managers work efficiently.
Project managers must also be able to set the pace and keep one step ahead of the team. If the project manager falls behind, this can lead to challenging circumstances and a breakdown in effective collaboration.
Great ideas come from every level of a team, so project managers should learn to keep an open mind and consider ideas from their team members. Every member of any team should be able to make a suggestion.
If a project manager fails to respect the contributions of others, they might pass on an amazing idea while taking the wind out of the sails of a valuable team member. This is why project managers must blend an open mind with a diplomatic approach.
Before you start breaking from tradition, though, you’ve got to understand established conventions entirely. This guide on project deliverables might help you get a better picture of the types of deliverables out there and what they require.
Diplomacy is an important skill for any professional, but it’s particularly important for project managers. Diplomacy is the ability to understand the opinions and feelings of others to make fair and reasonable decisions.
Project managers work with a variety of profiles and they are often posed with a range of challenging scenarios. They might have to choose when to allow holidays, for instance, or how to approach a team member who is underperforming.
Project managers should learn to harness their diplomatic skills. This ability gives project managers the power to tackle any situation and keep their team performing to the best of their ability.
11. A View to the Future
We all look for leaders who we can believe in. Politicians and other figures offer us all a glimpse into the future that they want to create – and they use that to earn our belief and support.
The best project managers always have an eye on a bright future and learn how to share it with their team. That vision keeps teams collaborating together as effectively as possible.
Project managers have the power to take projects to the next level with their strong collaboration skills. We hope this post has provided you with some interesting food for thought so that your projects are a success.
Max Benz is a content marketing manager at Filestage and loves actionable content that makes a difference. On the side, he’s running a German SaaS directory, suitApp.de, and shares his experiences working remotely and traveling around the world with his family on his personal blog.