Michelle SymondsThis guest post is by Michelle Symonds for Parallel Project Training.
Women and men are clearly different and approach situations in the workplace differently. They are often not able to combine the skills they naturally excel at, and it is women’s natural talents that make them better project managers than their male counterparts.
There are many industries where women can work as project managers. Few work in male-dominated industries like engineering and construction. However, there are plenty of female project manager jobs in industries where most workers are male, such IT.
What are the natural talents a woman may have that will make her a better project manager and help her stand out from her male colleagues?
Good communication skills
First, women are good communicators. They like to talk to people and instigate spontaneous conversations. Being a good communicator can be very different from being chatty or gossipy. But it is this desire to talk that makes a woman a great asset in project management.
It is much easier to raise concerns and highlight problems with the project team through informal, regular conversations.
These make it more likely that a project manager will have noticed an issue before it becomes serious.
Communication is more than just talking to and listening to your team. It is about communicating effectively, producing clear reports, and passing them on to the relevant parties.
Read next: Project communication management explained
Making complex things simple
It’s about finding the right balance between easily understandable project documents and reports, while still providing enough detail to highlight potential problems and give assurance that the business objectives have been met.
It’s about encouraging feedback and encouraging discussion in a nonjudgmental way. It’s also about creating a working environment in which ideas can flourish.
Women project managers don’t use technical jargon or complexity to impress or overwhelm peers. They will only add complexity if it is necessary to clarify requirements.
Even then, even the most complex issues will seem simple to the best female communicators.
Motivating the team
Communication is key to motivating a team. By taking an interest in each member of the team and being sympathetic to their concerns and needs, female project managers create loyal, motivated teams that are open to change and are willing to adapt.
Motivated teams will always be the best when it comes to delivering a positive outcome, especially in complex projects.
Although men can motivate a team, these talents can be felt by female project managers as innate and effortless. They know instinctively when it is time to praise and criticize.
Women can bring out the best of a team by encouraging people to stop competing against one another. They are skilled at defusing conflict, and they don’t lose sight of the fact a motivated team will always perform better than one that is disillusioned.
Women excel in project management environments because of their communication and interpersonal skills as well as teamwork and team building abilities.
Create an environment that encourages success
The best women project managers combine a logical, meticulous approach to thinking and working with creativity. This combination encourages innovation.
Innovation is often the key to truly successful projects, projects that exceed expectations.
Successful projects are often described as being on-time, on-budget, and meeting business objectives. Why not strive for projects that are delivered on-time, under-budget, and beyond expectations? Is it too much to dream about?
Women also appreciate the fact that projects can be fun.