If you are a project manager, it means that you are a highly skilled, well educated individual, who as excellent knowledge in your field. It might not necessarily mean that you have great people skills, and you might find that your projects are encountering several difficulties because of your inability to effectively connect with your team.
As much as we would like to believe that the workplace is a professional environment, and that emotions and personal opinions play no part in what takes place in the office, the simple fact of the matter is that people are social beings by nature, and it is by forming personal relationships with you team that you will be able to get the most out of them as a project manager.
This does not mean that you should be best friends with everyone at work, but a simple, civil and friendly relationship with your colleagues will strengthen your team and improve your reputation as a project manager. Here are a few simple everyday social skills which will help you to strengthen the ties with your co-workers, and might possibly prove useful in your personal life as well.
Simple, yet effective. The power of a smile is not to be underestimated. Everyone craves a positive work environment, and greeting your co-workers with a smile will immediately have a beneficial effect on the mood of the entire office. As a project manager, it is important to keep your staff motivated and productive, and nothing does this better than a friendly, positive smile.
2. Play the field
Now that we have your attention, we do not mean that literally. As a project manager, it is important to ensure that you do not pick any favourites within your team. Make sure that everyone has an equal voice, and that no one feels that you favour the opinions of a single person within your team. Also avoid gossiping about or discriminating against any member in your team. This is after all a group effort, and you want to form a close knit, effective working unit.
3. Care about your people
As much as we would all like to check in our personal life at the office door, it is simply not that easy. People have emotions, and there is no way to simply forget about them. If a member of your team is having a difficult time, make the effort to find out what is wrong and offer a helping hand if possible. I am by no means saying that you should get involved with their personal lives, but asking about their day and listening when they have something to share will make you more than just a cold hearted project manager, but someone whom they can trust and for whom will make the extra effort.
4. Be fun
While you might think that as a project manager you must rule with an iron fist and strike fear into the hearts of those in your team, it is not the way to go about creating a rapport with your co-workers. People like being around people who are fun to be with. Crack a joke now and then, and make people laugh whenever it is appropriate. This will not only establish you as someone that other team members want to work with, but can also assist in breaking down the barriers between you and those around you, allowing you to establish, friendly functional and effective workplace relationships.