I do believe there must be a bank of standard questions to ask students that administration somehow feels validates the program the student is in the midst of completing. This question is a case in point. In fact, this question has been asked in almost every class I have taken at Walden. They all start the same, “what skills and qualities do you think are most important to be an effective and successful …. “ (You fill in the blank) instructional designer, leader, change agent, manager, etc.
The irony is, and I honestly cannot state this for a fact for the males in the class, but most females have grown up with an image in their minds of the “perfect or ideal mate” with whom they would meet, marry, and spend happily ever after. It is only as adults that we realize that happily ever after is typically happily most of the time and perfect or ideal is really the most compatible individual that will put up with our own idiosyncrasies.
For instance, my ideal mate would be sensitive, but strong. Practical, yet idealistic. Enthusiastic, but realistic. Honest and ethical. Persuasive without being pushy. Able to balance multiple tasks. Be charming and charismatic. Helpful and compassionate. A good communicator and active listener. Organized and flexible, in addition to having great follow through. A good sense of humor would be great as well. (This is where I would put in preferences for a Christian, non-smoker, likes dogs and kids, etc….).
Minus the personalization traits at the end, it sounds like a pretty great project manager. According to our text, an effective PM is a good communicator (skilled at negotiation, conflict resolution and persuasion), has good follow through (focused on finishing), credible, able to balance multiple tasks (able to make difficult tradeoffs to meet objectives), sensitive (finely tuned set of political antennae and sensitive to interpersonal conflict), leadership skills (keeping their team energized, enthused, organized and informed), has ethics, personality and charisma (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer & Sutton, 2008).
Our text also emphasizes a need for the PM to balance management and leadership. “Management focuses on creating plans and assessing performance. Management focuses on systems, procedures, and information. Management creates order and predictability.” In contrast, “leadership emphasizes defining a vision and taking actions to increase the chances that the vision becomes a reality. Leadership focuses on people. Leadership helps people address change.” (Portny, et al., 2008, p. 252). Both are required of a good and effective PM.
In addition, according to Project Smart the Top 10 Qualities of a Project Manager are “inspires a shared vision, good communicator, integrity, enthusiasm, empathy, competence, and ability to delegate tasks, cool under pressure, team-building skills, and problem solving skills” (Barry, 2010, p. 1).
HOW WILL THESE QUALITIES HELP YOU TO FIND THE BALANCE THAT WILL BEST SERVE THE PROJECT, THE CLIENT, AND THE STUDENTS FOR WHOM THE SOLUTION IS BEING DEVELOPED?
Clearly these qualities describe a person who is the best of all worlds: management, instructional design, and leadership. What a combination. This person would know exactly what to say and when to say it. If they misspoke their charm and charisma would lull the client into completely forgetting about it. The students would be mesmerized, as would every team member under the PM’s influence. It would be magical.
All kidding aside, communication, competence, and critical thinking skills go a long way towards making good choices and happy stakeholders.
Our text addresses this issue pointedly, “if the project manager isn’t careful, he or she can inhibit others’ willingness to accept responsibility and perform their work independently because of the following:
**They feel that their work will never be as good as the project manager’s.
**The project manager keeps the challenging and important assignments for him- or herself because he or she likes the work and thinks that he or she can do the best job.
**The project manager resists approaches that differ from the ones he or she normally takes.
**The project manager tends to micromanage people to ensure that they’re performing their assignments just as he or she would.” (Portny, et al., 2008, p. 254).
Barry, T. (2010). Top 10 Qualities of a Project Manager. Retrieved from http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/top-10-qualities-project-manager.html
Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Date Modified: 14 Dec 11 9:27 PM MST