The job of a project manager is to facilitate and support all stages of a project. Starting with initial planning stages then progressing to execution and then on to the monitoring and regulating on the project once it’s in its later, established stages of completion.
So what skills do women possess that lend themselves to successful project management?
Top notch communication and listening skills are what differentiates an average project manager from an excellent project manager. Studies have shown that women often have the upper hand over their male counterparts when it comes to both of these skills. A study looking into whether the same strengths and weaknesses were common to gender, revealed that the top three strengths common in women were the ability to pick up on non-verbal cues, good listening skills, and effective displays of empathy. In project management it’s important that team members feel genuinely listened to and valued by the person leading them. Tapping into the seemingly natural skills women have to listen intently to others could be beneficial for employers seeking the best, most empathetic project managers.
Are women better at multi-tasking than men? It’s an age old debate, and studies have found that there may be scientific evidence backing women as better multi-taskers. The ability to balance tasks, organise workloads and not become overwhelmed by the prospect of having multiple jobs to do in any given day is an important skill for a project manager. A lot of women experience multi-tasking in their daily lives from balancing work and parenting as well as family and personal finances, and although that is a generalisation as not all women will be the same, in general the experience of being a woman develops skills that can translate well into careers such as project management.
Research has shown that women may be perceived as much bolder leaders than men. There were various reasons contributing to women’s perceived boldness as leaders, but the one that was particularly relevant for working in project management was the courage to make changes when necessary. A project manager often needs to make sudden changes or adapt to new problems without delaying the progress of the project, having the courage to take the lead and identify when a change needs to be made is a key skill for project management in tech.
Despite women having many desirable attributes and skills that make them excellent leaders, they are still not receiving the same opportunities as men in leadership roles. Gender stereotyping and unconscious bias are just some of the problems that need eradicating to level the playing field for women in project management. And continuing to educate, raise awareness, and provide employers and women in tech with the necessary resources to pursue a career in tech will prove vital for seeing genuine change.
To read more about how to attract women into senior roles, click here.