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We Can't Be Good At Everything - So Play To Your Strengths

As a project manager, ultimate responsibilty lies with us to deliver the objectives of the project however it is important that you play to your strengths and those of your project team members and remember, we can't be good at everything.

As Daniel Goleman states in his book 'Emotional Intelligence' the cornerstone of exemplary leadership is 'self-awareness', a knowledge of what we are good at and what we struggle with. An excellent way to get a better understanding of yourself I have found is to undertake behavioural profiling. I've used one to develop my self-awareness and it was enlightening to say the least. I knew from experience that I was extremely good at engaging with stakeholders as to the benefits that the project would bring and motivating the team however I did not enjoy writing project reports or getting involved in the technical details of the project and would often be tripped up when extolling the virtues of the project in front of alarge group of stakeholders when asked by someone if they could see the project plan!!

Having undertaken a behavioural profile, the pieces of the jigsaw fell into place. I came out as an 'Inspiring Helper', with the ability to communicate passionately about the project, get people motivated and involved however struggling to fully understand the risks of the project, sticking to deadlines and keeping people updated via reports.

Having an understanding of myself, I was then able to think about those people who I needed in my project team to compliment my strengths, the people who were technical experts, the ones who I needed to consider things from an end user's perspective and those who could keep an eye on deadlines and that the top level strategic objectives were being met.

In addition to giving me a greater understanding of myself and also thinking about the right people to get onto the project team, it also gave me food for thought in developing the appropriate communication strategies to obtain buy-in and commitment from stakeholders. I was able to develop communications for those who were more visual, small focus workshops for those who valued small group meetings, intranet communication for those who wanted more detail and summaries of achievement against target/budget for those who were more top-level and action-oriented.

The result of the above has meant that I have been able to focus on what I am good at and whilst not overlooking my weaknesses, I have preferred to play to my strengths and have a team around me with complimentary skills so that collectively we are an effective project team that delivers what the business requires.

If any project manager wishes to see my profile as an example of how it may support you and your project team, please do not hesitate to email me.

Have a great day and play to your strengths.

Nick Fewings
nick@thecolourworks.com

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