5 Project Management Skills That Will Help You Manage Your Brand

Project management is not always fun, but it can be rewarding. Here are 5 key skills you need to know or learn. I've paraphrased and interpreted them based on "The Five Dumbest Things A Project Manager Can Say," a terrific e-newsletter from 4pm.com. (Note: I am not endorsing this vendor, but I did take a class with them and was happy with it.)

Truthfully, most of this is about being a psychologically balanced person with emotional intelligence and plain old common sense.

However, as we all know, once the pressure is on, common sense is sometimes the first thing to go.

1. Be realistic about deadlines.

Don't be so eager to please that you promise the sun, moon, and stars. Or, as they say, "Underpromise and overdeliver." No matter what the customer asks of you, if you can't do it, you can't do it.

2. Address conflict openly and constructively.

The beginning of a project is the time to surface conflict, not hush it up. If you try to create artificial agreement too early on, you'll end up with a dissertation instead of a realistic scope of work.

3. Give the team members some breathing room to do their jobs.

If you insist that your way is the only way to do things, everybody is going to come to you before they make a decision. Guess what? Nothing will get done and definitely not on time. Unless you enjoy staying up all night at work the night before the project, along with your angry team (the ones that haven't deserted you, that is).

4. Insulting the team members.

Nooo....you would never do this, I know. But don't even do it in a subtle way. You want your staff to be not only empowered but engaged. Not only is it morally right on your part to treat them well, it is a win-win: demoralized people will just as easily sit around and shoot the breeze as do your boring project work. And they definitely won't stay up all night for you when a deadline looms.

5. Throwing your weight around when the customer wants to change everything.

This seems like a contradiction right? #1 was all about asserting yourself to keep things realistic. But if you've established a relationship where the customer is able to get away with crazy demands, guess what? You're in it till the end. Next time, make the rules clear upfront and you'll have less of a problem later on. Because what the customer wants is still of primary importance - it's just your job to give them a clear picture of what is and isn't doable.