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Lifelong Lessons: What Did Your Most Effective Mentor Teach You?

by PM Network Staff

Recently, organizations large and small alike have established formal systems of mentoring. These programs are designed to strengthen the work force and integrate new employees quickly. This article features four project professionals discussing what their most effective mentors taught them. It explains how one mentor used a delegation/support/appreciation/trust technique. The importance of critical thinking skills and analysis are also overviewed. The role of stakeholders and project management in mentoring are explored.

Take The Guesswork Out Of Peformance Assessments

by David Whitemeyer

Replacing a team member can be a difficult and time-consuming process, from sifting through endless resumes to conducting interviews to on-boarding the new person. By effectively conducting formal reviews, supplanted by informal evaluations, project managers can address team members' weaknesses, reward their good work, set future goals and implement an improvement plan, thus rendering the replacement of a team member less likely. This article explores ways to take the guesswork out of three evaluation conundrums when it comes to assessing team members' performance. In doing so, it reports the results of a 2011 study--conducted by Harris Interactive--showing that organizations risk 250 percent of an employee's salary in turnover costs because of poor performance management processes, including performance reviews. It then identifies three challenges that come up frequently during the review process and provides a solution for each challenge. Accompanying the article are two sidebars: The first sidebar lists three questions for every review; the second sidebar details the perfect type of review.

Power to the People Skills

by Rachel Zupek Farrell

While delivering projects on time, scope and budget are key parts of every project, success ultimately comes down to the right people doing the work. This article discusses how organizations can gauge people skills and identify red flags in potential job candidates during the hiring process. In doing so, it reports the results of the 2012 Workplace Issues Report--conducted by Six Seconds--showing that those who use emotional intelligence as a basis for leadership outperform their peers by 32 percent in leadership effectiveness and development. It notes how technical skills are easier to determine during an interview than soft skills. Before identifying which skills to target in an interview, you must first define the high-performing project manager for your particular organization. Once you know the skills you're targeting, you can identify the right questions to ask in an interview. It then lists five questions that can be used during an interview with a potential project professional to determine if he or she possesses the people skills you seek. The article then identifies warning signs that may be observed in potential candidates. It notes that warning signs of subpar communication skills can be detected by paying attention to body language, voice and tone. Accompanying the article is a sidebar discussing the value of people skills.

Learning New Tricks, New Trends and New Approaches

by Denene Brox

There's no question that project professionals are busy. With people to manage, deadlines to meet and constant decisions to be made, project professionals spend most of their time focusing on the more pressing demands of day-to-day work. This article discusses how project managers can stay on top of trends and embrace new approaches. First, it examines the role complacency plays with project professionals and how organizational leaders need to encourage experienced project managers to incorporate new techniques and create a culture that welcomes innovation. It then identifies one of the main factors that stunts development in seasoned project professionals. The article explains how an environment that encourages learning should have a top-down approach, where project managers know that the culture supports taking the time to try new approaches.

Don't Waste Your Youth: How To Shape Your Next Generation of PMs

by Cindy Waxer

No matter what processes are in place, no matter how detailed the business strategy, organizations are only as good as the people executing those plans. Too often though, the needed talent isn't available. This article discusses how organizations can shape the youngest generation of project team members and keep them contributing to the organization for the long haul. In doing so, it identifies a three-step process for grooming the next generation of project teams.

What's Your Motivation? How Management Can Motivate Employees

by Mike Donoghue

Even in workplaces where organizations work hard to reduce the mistreatment of employees and decrease abuse of power, there are still a number of methods utilized that apply negative forces to achieve results. Read how three general concepts influence behavior with regard to personal fulfillment.

Teachable Moments: The Best Person for the Job

by Susan Kennedy, PMP

Teachable moments are formed when you have done something--regardless of the outcome--and learned from the experience. Learning makes us better at what we do and provides a great opportunity to develop others and sharpen skills. We’ve compiled our best Teachable Moments from our community members for you to learn from and share with other project managers. In this installment, we learn how one conversation changed the way a PM thought about project staffing.

Exciting Projects: The Unsung Hero to Attracting Talent

by Bruce Harpham

Recruiting and retaining highly talented professionals is a problem for many companies. Despite economic uncertainty, new companies and products are being launched each day. To keep up, project managers and projects have a key role to play in talent strategy.

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