Resilience and confidence in project management
5 Aug 2020 12:02 PM
Blog posted by: Allan Thomson – PPM Product Ambassador, AXELOS, 05 August 2020.
Two of the skills that will be essential during the recovery after Covid-19 will be resilience and confidence.
As non-technical skills, you won’t generally find any specific learnings about them in methods or frameworks. Therefore, it’s necessary to look elsewhere to supplement your project management best practices such as PRINCE2®.
Self-assessing your skills
A good place to start when self-assessing your level of resilience and confidence is a simple question: “how do I feel?” Add to that “How comfortable do I feel with the work I’m doing?” and you’ll have a good indication of where you are.
Within projects, stakeholders expect the project manager to be 100% “on the ball” even in high-pressure circumstances. That means maintaining your energy levels and demonstrating to rest of the team that you’re in control.
So, to be that person, you need to have a clear understanding of your targets, your stakeholders’ expectations and what you need in place to satisfy them.
Recognizing when resilience is low
It’s a sure sign that a project manager’s resilience is low when that person goes “missing” in tough times. That could mean not attending critical workshops, double-booking meetings or not replying to emails, for example.
The project manager has to be visible to everyone; not micro-managing people, but being available for whatever the team needs.
Without this, project team members can start to get worried. Then, when the word gets around, it creates a downward spiral of stakeholders losing trust in the project manager and this could eventually hurt the project.
Developing key interpersonal skills
For a successful working relationship, the project team must not only respect the project manager, but also like them to a certain extent. Otherwise, it becomes a much tougher job for everyone.
The project manager can help this by working on the key interpersonal skills of empathy, humility, keeping cool under pressure while also being personally accountable and making others aware of their accountability.
Value of certification for confidence and resilience
An interesting finding from AXELOS’s Power of Professional Certification research from 2019 is that training and certification improves practitioners’ confidence in their workplace skills.
That confidence is vital when leading projects and programmes, especially when having to answer fundamental questions such as “when are we going live with this?”
Knowing the project management method you’re using, and having proven that by passing an exam, is a confidence booster.
Remaining valuable in economic recovery
The future of the economy in the post-pandemic recovery period is difficult to predict; what you, as a project manager, can do is be your best.
Organizations’ progress will be dictated by successful change programmes, which come from successful projects being implemented. So, doing the best job possible and demonstrating your value to the organization will help your resilience.
When you can prove you have the ability to “deliver the goods” in the most challenging conditions possible, then you are a valuable asset to your current company or will be with your future employer. It shows you’ve got the confidence and the resilience to keep going and get the job done.