With large projects, never-ending schedules, and tight deadlines have you ever wished to have superpowers like that of your favorite superheroes and X-men mutants? Just like they manage to save people in the end, do you also wish to deliver projects successfully? If you do, you’ve come to the right place.
This analogy between superheroes and project managers may sound hypothetical but if we look within and do our research, we have quite a few superheroes who, by virtue of their personalities, can be kickass project managers. This is why we decided to write about management lessons we can learn from our dear superheroes.
One Project manager: Different roles
As every organization defines roles and responsibilities of a project manager differently, it is difficult to visualize the definition in one specific way – which is very subjective in nature. However, every industry needs project managers to execute small or large projects.
Maybe you aren’t even a ‘project manager’ by designation but responsible for handling company projects on a daily basis. So, there are some lessons you might need to learn before you jump into managing your upcoming projects.
What does it take to become a super project manager?
The answer isn’t just being able to streamline schedules, delegate tasks and monitor projects and team members. An exceptional project manager is someone who exhibits collaborative leadership like the Superman. He needs to be as smart as the Batman, as knowledgeable as Tony Stark a.k.a the Iron Man and must possess brilliant strategic abilities like that of Black Panther.
Not only this, ability to align the team to collaborate on a successful outcome, negotiation skills and empathy are some virtues expected out of a great project manager.
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How to become a superhero manager?
Project managers are no less than superheroes. They might not wear a cape and an underwear outside their well-ironed trousers but the overwhelming work-pressure is nothing less than saving mankind from extra-terrestrial attacks.
In this post, we will discuss both – the soft and the hard skills – required to become a super project manager. Following are our best picks for project management superheroes and the lessons we can learn from them to take our project management prowess to another level.
Plan and strategize like Batman
Planning is the first and arguably the most important part of project management. If you get this right, you are more likely to succeed, provided you execute the plan properly. As they say, “Well begun is half-done.”
A project manager needs to look into the details like resource-allocation, scheduling, and foresee potential risks. And when it comes to superheroes, who can plan better than our very own Batman.
Known as the foremost strategist and obsessive planner – Batman notices details that everyone else might neglect. He would formulate great plans and then create backup plans for those plans. Project managers can learn to develop insane strategic focus from the Dark Knight and do some smart planning for the project.
Communicate the way Captain America does
Great project managers are best communicators. They know exactly what they want and know how to put it across team members as well. They realize timely and informed communication across all disciplines and involving key stakeholders is the key to successful project delivery.
No superhero embodies authority, strong communication and problem-solving abilities better than Captain America. Being crystal-clear about his needs and requirements, he exudes the command and authority that every great project manager must possess.
Tip: Know your team members before doing any communication.
As a project manager, you need to find a way to deal with different types of personalities and communicate what is expected out of them. Choose the best words and communicate effectively.
Learn responsibility lessons from the Spiderman
You have to be responsible to be a successful project manager. After all, you are the man who is responsible for successful initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and closure of a project. And no one can epitomize responsibility better than the Spiderman. The man who carries big weight on his shoulders to protect New York citizens from crazy scientist turned beasts. He has learned that with great power comes great responsibility.
So, if a project fails, don’t get into the blame-game. Take the responsibility, own the mistake and learn your lesson from it. At the end of the day, being a project manager, it was your responsibility to prevent it from failing. So, keep calm and learn how to be responsible from the Spiderman.
Be as creative as the Green Lantern
With so much competition around, project managers need to be creative and think ‘out-of-the-box’ to positively stand out from the competitors.
They need to be innovative while developing plans, detecting and removing potential risks and produce more revenues and profits.
They can learn a thing or two from Hal Jordan – the famous Green Lantern. Along with being creative, you can also learn how to be an optimist and believe in yourself. You might be managing projects and leading a team but there will be days when you might hit a low. Then recall these amazing words by him:
In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!
Humility from Thor
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self” said Ernest Hemingway. There are many traits that make a great project manager such as effective communication, problem-solving, strong leadership. However, we mostly tend to overlook a quality that is the most expected from a manager – humility.
Thor – the Northern God of Thunder was deprived of his powers and thrown to Earth to teach him a lesson in humility. Eventually, he earns the right to be a hero again when he learns to be humble, kind and considerate. Similarly, project managers can demonstrate humility when a project turns out to be a success by giving credit to your team members and taking the blame on yourself when the things go otherwise.
Mentor others like Professor X
Without a doubt, he is probably the best team manager who raised many other superheroes like a father. Likewise, project managers are leaders in their own right. And a true leader always creates more leaders. Just like Prof. Charles Xavier built a family of mutants and empowered them to share and use their ‘gifts’ for the betterment of the world, being a project manager, it’s your job to empower your teammates to leverage their abilities and work on weaknesses. Become a master at building teams by blending them together into a close-knit team
Grow a thick skin like that of The Thing
The Thing is the heart and soul of Fantastic Four. Don’t let his thick skin deceive you in any way. He possesses this one trait every leader should have – empathy. He might be super-strong from the outside but no other superhero personifies empathy like this man. This is what all the project managers out there can learn from this superhero from the Fantastic Four series.
Leaders who are empathetic and considerate of the needs of the team members are admired by their team members. They not only sympathize with people around them; but also use their knowledge and power to help them in the most subtle ways. Just like the Thing ‘thoughtfully’ considers the feelings of others – you should also take care of the feelings of your team members while making final decisions regarding projects.
Have an edge over other project managers using the right tool
With all the above-mentioned qualities, you are aware of what is expected from an effective project manager. To have an added advantage over other project managers, you must employ a collaboration and project management software like ProofHub that can help you manage projects and resources better. It allows you to create your own team of superheroes where you can assign roles to project members and allocate tasks according to their strengths.
Frankly, you don’t need superpowers to be your best version; you just need to feel empowered to do so. You have all the useful tools and software you can add to your quiver. Just try to imbibe the qualities discussed above and couple them with the right project management software, you will be no less than a superhero. It might not be possible to be a superhero this lifetime but you can be a project management superhero anytime.
If you think we have missed out on other qualities or lessons we can learn from our favorite superheroes, feel free to drop a comment below.