I recently posted in a LinkedIn group for Project Managers about what are the skills or mentoring that newly-experienced Project Managers desire or require. (Instead of assuming we know they need, I wanted to get the answers from the “horse’s mouth” and to encourage such insight).
The overwhelming (and interesting) response was that which is most desired and required are the “soft skills” — of communication, stakeholder management, conflict resolution and negotiation.
Whereas there are few “silver bullets”, courses in “reflective listening” can help “slow down” the tendency of all of us to provide solutions — instead of really listening fully to the request and to hear the underlying need, values and learning styles of the requester/communicator.
One interesting book that I have recently come across presents an relevant framework applied in a new area, i.e.. “NLP for Project Managers”. That is, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) as applied to the area of Project Management. Now before you discount this and say that such NLP books can be “off with the pixies”, it is recommended that you take a look with an open mind. (I have no financial connection with this book!)
It also has tips on handling stress, on building rapport, on motivating the project team, on giving and receiving feedback and on other topics.
Underlying these “techniques” is the importance of being genuine, authentic and with positive intent. Those are the real soft skills!