Project Managers Should Have Degrees In Psychology

July 2, 2011 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Management Musings

Project Managers Should Have Degrees In Psychology
By Kerry Wills

As Project Managers we spend all of our days interacting with people whether it is getting updates from team members, following up with other people, and presenting information to stakeholders. Spending this much time with people means working with different personalities and I have come to realize that everyone has issues (I don’t need to remind people of mine – just read my article on OCD, anxiety, impatience, etc…).

I feel like I spend a portion of my day similar to a psychiatrist’s day…

  • Guiding people through the psychological ups and downs of projects
  • Consoling people who got a management beat down
  • Dealing with interpersonal issues between team members
  • Listening to venting and complaining about people, management, processes, etc.
  • Getting updates from people’s home lives, relatives, siblings, children, etc.
  • Discussing with people their career aspirations

I am a strong believer in building close relationships with people at work, which also means getting to know people at a personal level. I think we should look to add psychiatric skills to the PM competency and possibly even move a couch into our offices. Now how does that make you feel?

Kerry Wills is a proven Program Manager/Portfolio Manager with an extensive background in Project Management, consulting, and application development. Kerry has consistently demonstrated the ability to plan and implement large and complex projects on time and on/under budget. Kerry runs a blog, Adventures in Project Management.

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3 people have left comments

Great point! Being a project management requires knowing how to best help people in team work together and succeed, and psychology skills are the most useful for that. Organizational Psychology or I/O psychology is a relatively new field that focuses on psychology in the workplace.

Natasha Murashev wrote on July 2, 2011 - 10:30 pm | Visit Link

yes i would like to second this point, especially during the times of uncertainty conditions its really a must for PMs & PMOs.

Great articles about Project Managements. Thanks a lot.

Senthil wrote on July 3, 2011 - 1:06 am | Visit Link

A very useful post. It is also important to recognise that people operate within the culture of their organisations. So it is equally important for [project] managers to understand the culture of the various organisations involved. This is in effect psychology at the organisational level.

Jim Yates wrote on July 4, 2011 - 3:47 am | Visit Link

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