What You Should Know about Interpersonal Skills and Develop Project Team for the PMP Certification Exam
The PMBOK Guide lists interpersonal skills as a tool and technique for Develop Project Team. The PMP Certification Exam will have questions that directly relate to this topic because it is one of the most important skills you can have for your project. Leading, team building, and motivating are three of the most important interpersonal skills you can demonstrate to develop a high-functioning team.
Leadership means different things to different people. When developing a team, here are some key behaviors you should demonstrate:
Vision: You have to have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish and how you want the team to contribute to that vision. Part of this entails communicating the vision clearly, and part is influencing the team in supporting and owning the vision. This can include letting team members know what’s in it for them if they support the vision.
Trust: There are two aspects of trust in this process. The first is that team members have to trust that you have the skills and abilities to lead them through the project. The second is that they have to trust that you will support them, remove barriers, and empower them.
The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct states that project managers will strive to create an environment in which others feel safe to tell the truth.
Communication: Communicating the vision clearly is important. Another aspect of communication is the way you communicate. You need to match your communication style to the needs at hand. Sometimes this means being clear and concise; other times, it means listening or being empathetic. Your ability to communicate appropriately will make a big difference in your ability to lead effectively.
Active listening: Many people consider listening part of communication, but it is such an important skill in all areas of project management. Active listening should include
Making eye contact, facing the person speaking, and having an open posture, such as not crossing your arms or legs
Giving the speaker your full attention without distractions or planning your response
Paraphrasing, summarizing, and/or clarifying the message to ensure you understand the message correctly
In situations where you’re talking with someone who is emotional, you should empathize with the person, indicating that you understand what he is feeling
The human resource plan identifies areas that may require training. Of the many different options for training, some are
Team building should be done early, and it should be done often. Some team building is formal, such as a retreat. Other team building is informal, such as going out for lunch, or starting a meeting by asking everyone present to share a little known fact about herself or telling something she is proud of. The intention is to get people comfortable working together effectively.
To form an effective team, people need to trust and respect the other team members and understand how to work well with them. Bruce Tuckman is a psychologist who conducted research in group dynamics. He developed a ladder that describes the various stages of team building.
|Forming||The team first comes together. Members get to know each other’s name, position on the team and department, and other pertinent background information. This might occur in the kick-off meeting.|
|Storming||Team members jockey for position on the team. This phase is where people’s personalities, strengths, and weaknesses start to come out. There might be some conflict or struggle as people figure out how to work together. Storming might go on for some time or pass relatively quickly.|
|Norming||The team starts to function as a team. At this point, members know their places on the team and how they relate to and interface with all the other members. They are starting to work together. There might be some bumps in the road, but these are resolved quickly, and the team moves into action.|
|Performing||The team becomes operationally efficient. This is the mature team stage. Teams that have been together for awhile are able to develop a synergy. By working together, members accomplish more than other teams and produce a high-quality product.|
|Adjourning||The team completes the work and moves on to other projects. If the team has formed a good relationship, some members might be sad about leaving the team.|
The intended outcome is for the team to develop a synergy and a relationship in which members can solve problems and perform work more effectively and efficiently.
Motivation entails influencing people to perform certain actions. After all, not everyone is motivated by the same type of reward. Much research has been conducted as to what motivates people. As such, theories abound.
The following motivation theories appear most often on the PMP exam.
McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y
Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
McClelland’s Theory of Needs
Vroom’s Expectancy Theory