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Are You an Assertive Project Manager?

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"People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care."

--John C. Maxwell

Have you ever heard your project manager say something like "I'm not here to make friends; I'm here to get things done"? This is known as extrovert management. 

On the other hand, some project managers manage more as an introvert. They are less aggressive and more passive in their approach. 

There is a range of assertiveness, which can be understood as a person's tendency to actively defend, pursue and speak out for his own interests.

Assertiveness is a key point for a leader's ability to achieve results, according to a 2006 study from researchers Daniel Ames and Francis Flynn. They found that our natural tendency to focus on negative information suggests that the costs of low or high levels of assertiveness may often outweigh the benefits in the eyes of observers. 

So what is the best approach to assertiveness in the context of project management? It depends on the project.  

Perhaps the bottom line is to develop our ability to cover a wider range of assertiveness and adjust our behavior to the context of the project. 

For instance, on short-term projects, being more assertive will give us the ability to achieve results. But on a large project, the best approach might be more moderated in assertiveness to build good relationships with our team, which allows us to collaborate productively in the long run. 

Which kind of project manager do you prefer? And which kind of project manager are you?

 

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1 Comment

Is it possible to be both assertive as a Project Manager, but introverted in personality? I think so. I would say this just might describe myself. It is probably not common to see assertive, introverted PMs, at least outside of the IT industry, but there is a certain portion of the PM community that fits this bill.

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