The Right Personality for Project Management?

The Right Personality for Project Management?

From time to time, especially when things are sliding down the proverbial tubes, you’ve no doubt asked yourself why you ever became a project manager. My guesses as to why you might have entered the profession:

  • You stumbled into project management.
  • You pursued project management on purpose, because you thought it was lucrative or secure.
  • Project management was an available option and better than what you were doing at the time.
  • You like herding cats; that is, you like enabling a team to reach a goal using your organizational and relational skills.

Most likely, it was some combination of factors that got you into the project field and keeps you here.

But then comes the other question: now that you’re here, are you content being a project manager? Not happy or thrilled necessarily—they call it “work” for a reason—but at least content, enjoying the job enough so that, all other things being equal, you have a smile on your face in the morning?

When it comes to your contentedness level, there are twofactors:

  • Stuff that’s outside your control, such as your fundamental personality type.
  • Stuff that’s within your control, such as how you deal with the advantages and pitfalls of said personality type.

I ran across an article the other day claiming that certain personalities are “unsuited” for project management and, lo and behold, there was my Myers-Briggs type, right there in that no-way-could-he/she-succeed category. And yet, I’ve been successfully managing projects since Noah built the ark. (Well, it was Noah, Jr., in 1997, but still…)

It’s crucial to remember that your personality type reflects your preferences for interacting with the world, it’s not a stone box you can never break out of. If you want to manage projects, you can, whatever sort of personality you have.

What you must do is fill your toolkit with the right coping skills, skills that will enable you to adapt yourself to the demands of project management.

I’ll be writing more about this in future posts (unless I feel like writing about something else).

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