A major part of effective project leadership involves understanding the importance of continuing to learn and develop new skills. In particular, the constantly shifting world of work requires more adaptive leadership skills, so that projects can be successfully managed, even in the most unpredictable environments.
Research published in the Adaptive Leadership Skills: What’s Needed Today e-book from Strategy Execution highlights several recent shifts in the way work is done, which have all served to make continuous learning essential for modern businesses, from big data and new customer strategies, to automation and machine learning.
In this article, we take a closer look at why it is important to develop new skills in 2020.
The Importance of Learning New Skills
It is essential to want to continue to learn in any job role, but it is especially important in the field of project leadership. After all, regardless of the industry you work in, you are going to have to contend with new technology, new ideas, new competitors, new cultural changes and even new legislation.
As an article published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales points out, the simple act of learning new skills helps you to become more open to change. A willingness to take on new ideas and challenge your established viewpoints can help you to become better equipped to deal with changing requirements.
Leaders who become complacent, think they know all there is to know, or fail to adapt with the times are more likely to lag behind as times change and new ideas come to the forefront of their industry.
However, the benefits extend far beyond this. Learning new skills can help to boost your employment prospects, potentially improving your job satisfaction and the amount of money you earn. It can also help you to step out of your comfort zone, become more willing to take calculated risks, and will serve to make your role more varied.
Developing Tactical and Strategic Skills
Project leaders need to be able to be tactical in their approach, establishing things like the project budget and scope early, creating a project plan and ensuring the project is managed in such a way that the team does not lose sight of these things. This helps to guard against scope creep and lost productivity resulting from a lack of direction.
Yet, as the aforementioned Adaptive Leadership Skills: What’s Needed Today e-book makes clear, new technology and changing customer expectations mean projects are now managed in a more complex, uncertain context. This could mean that requirements change mid-project, or that new data emerges, which challenges key assumptions.
As Lindsay Scott explained in a previous post for the PMO Perspectives blog, project-based work is becoming increasingly strategic. Additionally, it is becoming more common for project leaders to have to contend with ambiguity in terms of project features, and you may need to please a larger amount of stakeholders than in years gone by.
The Crucial Leadership Skills to Focus On
In terms of skills to focus on for 2020, a high-quality management and communication course can be invaluable. This can help with developing the kind of strong stakeholder relationships that are required in order to keep all parties happy and will make it easier to inspire people, and to positively influence the behaviours of team members.
Of course, a good management and communication course can also help you to develop persuasive skills too.
Adaptive project management skills are now critical, while Agile skills and business analysis skills are growing in demand too. Furthermore, change management courses can help you to build the necessary knowledge to not only implement change in a project team, but also ensure that you take your project team with you on that journey.
Download the Adaptive Leadership Skills: What’s Needed Today e-book to learn more about the value of adaptive management and the importance of being prepared for the unexpected.