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How Being a Project Manager Can Help you Improve

An experienced senior project manager smiling at his career success.In my experience the project manager role is one which brings out the best in a lot of people.

From a personal point of view it helped me get a more satisfying career and feel that I had moved on to a new level. I think that part of the key is in finding out how your skills can be best be used, while the rest is in working out what new skills you need. The following is a brief list of what I found out about myself once I started managing projects and how it helped me.

Communication can be Fun

Coming from a business background I was used to rather more narrow types of conversation, where I was asked a question and provided a standard answer. In the project world this isn’t really an option and it took me a while to get to grips with a different way of dealing with my customers and colleagues. It was only when I realized that I could make this a more entertaining part of my role that I become comfortable with it. Once I found out that I could enjoy the communication aspect of my projects it became one of my favorite parts of the role.

Taking Control Is Easy

One of the things which you find in most jobs is that you don’t really get to take control or make many decisions. As an insurance underwriter and then a mortgage underwriter I had been used to making decisions but most of them were achieved by simply following some guidelines and adding a bit of common sense. When I started managing projects I suddenly had to make real decisions based on my own experience and judgement. At first this is a bit of a scary prospect but once you get into the swing of it you will probably find that it is one of the project manager role’s best aspects. In fact, after being in control and making important decisions it would probably be difficult for most of us to go back to a job in which we don’t do this. This part of project management also helped me become a better decision maker in other parts of my life strangely enough, and I am extremely glad that I got the chance to pick up this skill.

Talking All Day Needs Practice (and Plenty of Water)

I was never a big talker in the office and always preferred to let my actions do the talking for me. However, it isn’t always that easy to avoid a lot of conversations when everyone wants you to tell them how the project is going. Some days I have felt that I talked virtually all day long, and my throat even dried up and left me with a croaky voice a couple of times. The first step I had to take to cope with my newly loquacious approach to work was to always have a glass of water on my desk. With my throat duly lubricated I could then concentrate on enjoying my conversations and using them positively. I am now more talkative in general and have learned that sometimes picking up the phone can help solve a problem a lot quicker than sending out lots of emails or setting up rounds of meetings.

It’s Great to Do Different Things

If there is one problem which had characterized my early career it was the sense of boredom which always seemed to set in when I had learned everything there was to know about a role. Perhaps it was always my destiny to move into an ever changing job like project manager but for a while I was really worried about ever finding a job which would keep me happy in the long term. I have always enjoyed the early days of finding out new things and learning the ropes. Once this phase was over I often felt as though there was nothing left to learn, and this was something which seriously worried me. When I started my first project management job I was thrilled to discover that I knew nothing about the work it involved and that it was only planned to last for a year or so. Of course it overran but even so, I knew all along that it was a relatively short term project and that soon I would move onto something different. This means that I now feel more comfortable at work and don’t worry about having to look for a new job when I get bored of this one.

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