Project Teamwork

4 Must-Have Skills That Project Managers Need to Best Adapt to Future Trends

This morning while sipping on my coffee, I came across an insightful article about some of the top skills that project managers are going to need to have to succeed in the next ten years, and it got me to thinking.

Circumstances and cultures have changed, and our tools and other resources have changed. The way we communicate with each other has changed.

For example, I know in our organization, our employees telework at least once a week, and sometimes two or three days a week. We use virtual teaming and rely heavily on telephone, webinar, instant messaging, and other electronic ways of sharing information and collaborating. What are the challenges we face? Well, it’s hard to be engaged, and listening and talking on the conference calls is not very effective. What can we do to improve our skills to be successful in the coming years?

Simple: you take emerging work trends and extend them forward a few years, predicting which ones have the strongest chance of sticking around. Then you figure out what skills you will need to navigate work within those trends.

Below is the list of the author’s suggested four skills that project managers will need to learn in the next ten years:

1. Project Managers Will Need Cross-Cultural Intelligence

TREND: Workplaces are becoming increasingly diverse. Companies of all sizes continue to expand to overseas locations, or engage in offshore outsourcing.

SKILL NEEDED: Project managers are being called not just to understand cultural differences, but also be able to switch to different behaviors as the situation dictates.

Cultural intelligence (CQ), like emotional intelligence (EQ), is a relatively new method of understanding ourselves and, in turn, our teammates. Author Julia Middleton explains in her book Cultural Intelligence, that CQ can be broken down into two parts: our core (the behaviors we will not change for anyone) and our flex (those behaviors we can change when needed).

Project managers will need to learn to use their flex side in a concept called cultural code-switching, being able to blend with a culture as needed, and even engage in behaviors that may conflict with the culture they grew up with. For example: giving feedback directly as opposed to covering it with humor, or being a more present boss as opposed to letting the team self-organize. The project manager’s aim should be to focus on the result and think about altering your behavior as a means to meeting your team’s end.

2. Project Managers Will Need Virtual Collaboration Skills

TREND: As organizations source talent from across the globe, remote workforces increase. According to Wrike’s Remote Work survey of 1,000 employees, 80% of respondents deal with remote workers on a daily basis, either working with distributed colleagues, or as remote workers themselves.

SKILL NEEDED: Project managers must be able to lead their teams and engage with individuals effectively — no matter where in the world they may be stationed.

Team Collaboration
Image by HckySo via Flickr

While face-to-face meetings may remain the norm for companies that exist in only one brick-and-mortar location, it’s becoming increasingly common to hold meetings online or in shared virtual spaces. This means managers can no longer assume that attendees are all on the same page, and communication skills must be updated to ensure no misunderstandings happen. Plus, this entails learning the technology needed to communicate effectively.

3. Project Managers Must Adapt to New Technologies

TREND: New inventions appear everyday, including technologies that make work easier or that fundamentally change the way we work.

SKILL NEEDED: The speed with which new technologies appear requires managers who are flexible enough to learn new tools and incorporate them into daily use.

For example: marketing is an industry where tools are created at the speed of need. While jumping on the bandwagon isn’t a formula I’d suggest, it does pay to experiment with new tech. Find out what works. Test which ones make your time more productive. Assemble your toolbox of essential tools and keep it updated.

4. Project Managers Will Need to Handle Information Overload

TREND: Information overload is a very real thing, especially in our modern workplace. There is a limit to the amount of stuff our minds can process, a.k.a. our cognitive load.

SKILL NEEDED: Project managers who want to succeed in the next decade must be able to manage this deluge of data and extract the useful bits from the noise.

For example: PMs will have to distinguish emergencies amidst the massive influx of messages in their email inboxes. They will have to prioritize work that delivers the most value, even with a huge number of mixed signals from stakeholders. They will have to be strategic despite all the pings and notifications that will have them running to “put out fires.” They will need to be masters at prioritizing, time management, and focus if they intend to be successful at work and at life.

What Do You Think?

The author sees the unifying theme is constant learning and flexibility.

If you’re flexible enough to take what comes and willing to educate yourself on how best to adapt, then the future holds no insurmountable surprises for you.

The post 4 Skills Managers Will Need to Learn in the Next Decade appeared first on Wrike Blog.

via: 4 Skills Managers Will Need to Learn in the Next Decade

Do you agree or disagree with the author’s list of top must-have project management skills? Do you spot a critical skill missing from the list that you think will be absolutely necessary? I invite you to please share your perspective on what skills managers will need to be successful in the future.

Thanks for tuning in!


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