Can soft skills save a project?
Very few projects are straight forward or easy to do well. Most new projects are complex. They combine multiple disciplines and work areas – people, process change, operational change, data, technology, training, remote management.
Projects are hard to get right.
The success of a project is often influenced by the ‘glue’ between people and teams – or in others words the capability of the project lead around soft skills. Things like motivation, communication, conflict management, building trust.
However you label soft skills, they are as important as technical skills and experience. A project where people feel confident in speaking their minds, exchanging views, and expressing their emotions demonstrates emotional intelligence. The good will that is built by understanding what people are struggling with, making them feel their view is heard and providing clear expectations is invaluable to projects running smoothly.
It avoids individuals, teams or whole business areas becoming particular stubborn and difficult. At the extreme, projects can grind to a halt simply due to animosity that has built up slowly over time.
Soft skills and emotional intelligence create informal networks with a true understanding of the people dynamics. We feel they are often the secret ingredient to push through the challenging times on a project and bringing people on the project journey.