Anna Preston
by on October 31, 2018
Hard power is a term that most are familiar with, it is the use of economic power and force as both a reward and a penalty, the problem is it can be hard to work with others effectively when there are no incentives. Soft power, a term coined by Joseph S. Nye, refers to a gentler form of persuasion, one that has at least an equally valuable use in the organisational setting. The role of a project manager is always to get tasks done in a timely manner and bring them in on budget and to the appropriate specification. Yet they are often given little formal power in order to do this. Soft power, learnt in some project management courses, can therefore be a vital tool in any project managers arsenal. What is soft power? Soft power is a great tool which offers a number of different negotiating techniques. In order to use it to your advantage you need to have integrity in what you do, if you carry out your role with integrity you will see long-term results. It also means being helpful, without expecting anything in return; in time you will receive as you have given. It's everything that you would essentially want in a good team member, getting to know other team members, listening, being polite and personable, and sharing your knowledge where you have information that can help someone else. Soft power will really help a team to work together more effectively sharing their knowledge and expertise to work towards a common goal – it’s what great teamwork is made of. Don’t underestimate it Soft power sounds so simple – and to some extent it is – but it is important that you don’t underestimate it, it is a very strong form of power. If you use hard power, you always run the risk of running into someone who wields a greater power than you do. Economic power is another approach that you may prefer, and it might work, until you meet the person with more financial power than you have. Soft power is completely different, using your project management skills to organise your project workload and the team members is one thing but in order to make this work so that your project can achieve its best results you need to make friends with your team members. In turn, they will trust you that little bit more, ideas will be more readily shared, workloads spread more evenly, and the end result will be the creation a more positive working environment which will yield great results. As a project manager it is worth remembering that you still need to be able to drive your project, ensuring all those important deadlines are met and any unexpected issues resolved. Friendships with your team are great but you need to make sure that work is still being completed.
Posted in: Business, Education
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