Pankaj Saharia has worked as a structural engineer for 25 years, and in that time, has seen the advancement in managing structural engineering projects. How projects were managed when he started is vastly different from how it’s done now. In the modern world, it’s very important to understand the essential relational skills before advancing to strategic leadership.
When it comes to successfully managing projects, you have to go beyond an understanding of managing budgets, critical paths, and organizational skills. When faced with complex challenges, a project manager has to navigate dynamic environments while motivating their teams. Understanding the technical aspects is a must, but if the project manager doesn’t have leadership skills, achieving project goals may be tough.
So, what are the skills that project managers require to accomplish project objectives?
• Good listening. You have to pay close attention to what others say, asking the party speaking to clarify and repeat what has been communicated to avoid miscommunication.
• Critical thinking. This entails taking the time to carefully analyze and assess ideas, topics or issues faced during the project.
• Building trust. You have to work to bring project team members together based on the activities and tasks involved.
• Empathy. Good project managers are able to listen and understand what others are going through.
• Negotiation. The project manager has to bargain with other parties on issues such as resource allocation, information sharing, and activities performed. Good negotiators involve other people in order to reach an agreement.
Pankaj Saharia is an experienced structural engineer who is a member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).