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Author: Dr.Joseline Edward, PhD

My previous company provided training to managers every year to take them to the next level. That was to identify future leaders to lead the company. The company organizes 3 to 4 workshops each year. The organization that provided those trainings used a generic approach for these workshops. I was also selected to attend such training, few years ago. On the first day of workshop, we were asked to come up with the list of scenarios' where the managers usually needed help. Then we started to go thru each question; discussed the scenarios and finally as a team came up with the best solution for the problem. As a knowledge sharing perspective, I have mentioned a few questions that the managers asked to the management consultants in that workshop. I'm sure as a manager you might have encountered or might encounter similar situations at work.

I have a guy on my team who is in his late 50's and he is annoying a number of younger team members. How do I handle this situation?

Why should I give different sized pay raise to my subordinates? Due to this, my folks are not co-operating with each other. They are losing interest in their work.

My director asked me nominations from my team for the best team award. I have 25 employees. As per the eligibility criteria, I can nominate only 7 employees. How do I select the best out of 7 and how do I justify my decision to the team?

Few of my team members have kind of "I know it all" attitude. How I change this?

There's a guy on our project team who always says, "That won't work". How do I manage these communication blockers?

The management consultant was excellent. He provided appropriate solution for all of our questions. For example, for the first question, he said the guy who is in late 50's might feel like "odd man out". You need to recognize his expertise and talents; need to include him in non-work team activities; need to talk to him privately to let him know how his behavior is affecting others to manage the situation. Similarly he provided his view for all of our questions. The interesting part is, even though all are project managers , none of us asked project management related questions in that session. None of us asked how to prepare a scope plan; how to prepare an action item template; how to prepare a risk management plan; how to prepare a communication plan or any other item mentioned in PMBOK to manage a project. Most of the managers asked questions that were related to people management. If we look at these scenarios from a managerial standpoint, it triggers several questions.

Which skill is really required for a manager to successfully manage a project? Was that people management skills or project management skills? Do only PMP certified managers manage projects well?

Project Management Institute (PMI) has defined project as a temporary endeavor that creates a unique product, service or result. Project Management can be defined as a set of activities performed in all phases including initiation, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, closing to ensure the project is completed on time and under budget. Most of the activities defined in Project Management are performed by people. Manager's most important, and most difficult job is managing people. They need to hire, train, lead, motivate and inspire them. Project success is all about people success. Projects don't fail.

People do. Hence, the first prerequisite is to have a solid understanding of people management if you want to successfully manage a project. Based on my experience, I would say a person with very good people management skill with minimum project management knowledge can successfully manage a project in most of the environments. If we define People Management as a part of Project Management, I would say that an expert in both these fields with a fine balance makes himself a better project manager.

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