The Management Skills Pyramid

Being a project manager might be overwhelming.

Managers exist on the front lines, behind the scenes, in customer-facing roles, and across the organisation in various positions. Project management is much more than just controllingbecome a great project manager, you need to know how to organise teams, meet deadlines and stay within budget. It is very complex and requires elements of both psychology and business.

Some of the key responsibilities of a project manager are:

  • Guiding for teams to achieve specific functions or tasks
  • Supporting the development of team members and teams through coaching, feedback, and goal-setting
  • Participating in the hiring, evaluating, training, restructuring, and, when needed, firing of team members
  • Providing feedback on the group and individual performance to upper management
  • Articulating both short and long-term goals to ensure a company’s longevity
  • Motivating staff and creating an environment where employees thrive
  • Ensuring customer satisfaction

So, how do you find balance in priorities, develop yourself, grow a team, and manage to deliver projects on time? The answer is simple: the Management Skills Pyramid by Ph. D. Kammy Haynes.

Levels of the Management Skills Pyramid

To be successful, there are many skills a manager needs to cultivate, and it can feel like an intimidating task. The management skills pyramid is a model that represents the hierarchy of skills that managers have to develop to achieve a successful and fulfilling career. Understanding how these skills build on each other and work together will help you grow.

Level 1 “Get it done”

The first level of the pyramid shows the basic skills which managers should have. They are the fundamentals of the management job. It is like a checklist to get a project done.

  • Plan – determine the time frames, resources and requirements, schedule activities and duties, plan for futures needs
  • Organise – assign responsibilities, establish processes for collaboration
  • Direct – provide guidance and ensure performance
  • Control – monitor, track and report on efficiency cost and quality

Level 2 “Develop staff”

Moving up the skills pyramid, and beyond typical supervisory tasks, you meet the need to inspire and train the people you manage. This set of skills are often referred to as “soft skills”. If you don’t have them, the effectiveness suffers and team spirit declines with time.

  • Motivation – encoring people to engage and perform at their best
  • Training – ensuring employees grow as professionals
  • Coaching – helping each member to improve performance and develop themselves
  • Involvement – enabling creative collaboration focused on problem-solving and innovations

Level 3 “Improve self”

As you strengthen your abilities at level 1 and 2 of the pyramid, your self-development becomes important. When you’re engaged in helping and managing people, you should minimise personal mistakes. Try to keep attention on:

  • Time-management – knowing how and where to invest your time throughout the day
  • Self-management – motivating and engaging others, while keeping work/life balance

Level 4 “Success”

The management skills pyramid puts leadership on a pedestal because this skill is the most difficult to learn.

While leaders are most often managers, not every manager is a leader. Leaders are focused on defining direction, crediting a vision, and ensuring strategy align with the firm’s values and mission.

Simply said, leaders work on the vision and direction not only the day-to-day grind.

How to move on to the next level?

  1. Commit to acquiring missing skills

Promise yourself to acquire skills you currently lack. Use the pyramid approach to better clarify where you are and where you’re going.

  1. Study and practice the new skills you need

Like playing a sport, learning the required skills won’t allow you to compete at a high level. You need to practice, practice, and practice new skills to become proficient. The same process works with new management skills.

  1. Integrate skills and talents

As you practice, you’ll integrate new talents and skills. You should use this advantage to better establish your brand. This activity is more than just improving your workplace perception. A strong brand embodies your mission and commitment.

Keep in mind, that the journey to the top of the management mountain is rarely a direct plan. Your development will not necessarily proceed straightforwardly, beginning at the bottom, and moving systematically to the top of the Pyramid.

You’ll often find yourself wandering in between the levels of management skills pyramid. And that’s completely fine!

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