In his article at Inc.com, “6 Habits of Remarkably Likable People”, Jeff Haden talks about a set of habits that sound very useful to this project manager. Haden’s 6 items to consider says that these likeable people:
Now, that’s a really good list. As I read his article, I found myself wondering where that magical “line” is between being remarkably likeable and being thought of as too political or coming off just a bit too charming to be true. My clients typically hire me to work on large IT projects and project management processes for this projects. From an IT perspective, being capable and knowledgeable and being remarkably likeable don’t always come together in the same person.
Funny enough, most project managers need some of these skills to survive in a world where they are responsible for a successful project outcome but often have no legitimate power in the organization to manage people or get things done. We often rely on our influence skills to get us through and help us “herd” the project team and the stakeholders along the way.
My favorite item on Haden’s list is #3, whipping out the social jiu-jitsu. In the article, social jiu-jitsu is defined as “the ancient art of getting you to talk about yourself without you ever knowing it happened.” I like the thought of asking the right questions and getting someone to tell me about themself or about something that was important to them. I need to figure out how to use this skill to make my business stakeholders tell me what they really need that new system to do for them so my requirements quality and the resulting new solution give them exactly what they need to get the job done.
Haden’s article is very much worth reading. Being likeable is a very desirable trait in a project manager, and any advice on how to incorporate likeability into your project management toolkit is very much appreciated.
If you are looking to refine or validate your communication and negotiation skills (which certainly includes those like ability skills, I should think!), take a look at Learning Tree’s 3-day course on effective communications. This course is certainly a great place to begin or revisit how well you are communicating and to learn some new skills and techniques for communicating with others even better still.
It’s time to go try out my social jiu-jitsu!