Rather than taking project-based leadership for granted or assuming it will fall under the general umbrella of corporate competency, professionals can directly study the necessary skills and abilities.
Management may sometimes seem like a single, monolithic ability – either you have it or you don’t. However, there are many individual components to becoming a better leader in an office environment, ranging from the general to the very specific. Project management is one such skill. Keeping collaborators on track and making sure every task comes to a satisfactory close can be an absolutely critical part of an effective organization, and firms that have capable individuals may find themselves better able to meet their commitments.
Even as the exact processes required to be a project manager evolve over time, the importance of having someone at the helm has kept the role eternally relevant. Now, it’s up to professionals and companies to ensure they’re on track.
Watch out for the talent gap
As the Project Management Institute discovered in a recent survey, there is a massive need for project professionals today, but a limited pool of capable individuals. Many of the leaders who have served in these roles in the recent past are nearing retirement age, and the next generation will have to step up. PMI noted that growth economies have especially steep project manager requirements. Situations that demand high-growth operations from companies are calling for skilled individuals to keep those measures on track.
As for the industries most actively seeking project managers, PMI pointed to verticals that have historically not worked via project-oriented models. Health care and publishing are among the sectors coming around to this style, with health care’s demand growing most among any U.S. industry. Types of work that have traditionally been project-based, such as construction, are also in need of fresh employees, though in those cases the cause is retirement-related attrition rather than a rethinking of duties.
Understand modern methodologies
While companies are changing to favor project management, the duties demanded of those leaders are also in flux. Industry thinker Oliver Yarbrough used a LinkedIn blog post to highlight the in-demand skill sets seen today, as well as how they’re different from those needed in the past. Businesses are embracing new methodologies such as agile work, and they’re becoming more technology driven. Individuals who don’t know how to add analytics and other IT tools to their workflows may find themselves out of step with project management‘s cutting edge.
In addition to technical knowledge, Yarbrough called for a change in mindset. When project managers take a sense of ownership over the subject matter they work on, they become more useful to their respective organizations. Instead of pure project management, these driven leaders are also working on consulting and development. Yarbrough explained this approach could be the difference between holding on and truly thriving.
Make the connection with overall leadership
Project management isn’t a separate course from organizational leadership or a niche kind of oversight. The Chartered Management Institute pointed out that just about every corporate official with leadership responsibilities will have to take the helm of a project at some point or another. Ushering in change, an essential part of being a contributor to a modern organization, is a key project management task, and employees who don’t have the right skills could end up failing to lead their teams to success.
CMI suggested that every leader in the business world know how to assess risk and project the possible results of an undertaking in advance. A breakdown could come at any stage of a project, and individuals who understand how to power through these issues, expecting the unexpected and staying abreast of the most likely outcomes, could save time and money. These tasks are squarely on the person taking the lead in a given project.
Becoming an effective communicator is another suggested path for leaders in general and project managers in particular. Instead of simply providing a fountain of information about a project, an effective individual will find the most efficient and clear ways to put necessary updates in front of the people who have to see them. Self-editing is crucial. A top project manager will take in all available data and pass on the salient points, leaving little to chance.
Acquire an essential skill
Rather than taking project-based leadership for granted or assuming it will fall under the general umbrella of corporate competency, professionals can directly study the necessary skills and abilities. Keeping a project on track combines some nuts-and-bolts planning and organization abilities with productive interactions and communication. Getting a team across the finish line and reaching project objectives is a very specific outcome, and leaders can think about studying this subject matter in isolation.
The initiatives that lead companies into their respective next chapters will take the form of projects. Across industries, skilled people are thus essential to the command of these short-term operations. From project-driven industries to sectors that haven’t used this model extensively before, there is the potential for a new class of manager to rise to the occasion.