Suppose a serious problem occurred in your project team.
You don’t have a good relationship with the project members. Sometimes you forget that you are in a professional environment and think you are the boss, everyone must obey you. Although no one seems to be saying anything negative about you, but you pretty sure that they think different, and it is starting to have an effect on the project.
In such case, you may ask yourself some questions:
- What do I need to do in order to turn things around in the workplace?
- I have such many skills such as:
In spite of these skills, why these problems occur in my project?
Do you think these skills are enough to become a good Test Manager? There is other skill, which the Test Manager must have, is People Skills
In almost all jobs, your people skills – also known as "soft skills" – have as much of an impact on your success as your management skills. That is especially true when you are in a management or leadership role.
What are the People skills?
People skills are a set of skills enable a person with
Role of People skills
30%the success of the project comes from technical skills such as Testing skill, development skills, management skill…. While 70% comes from the human resource. To manage the human resource, the Test Manager needs the people skills. The most important about management is people skills, means how we deal with others. Awareness of our own and others can help you enormously in dealing with the work tasks you are responsible.
In the project team, let’s consider the members with whom you interact with every day.
- Do you have good relations with them?
- Is there any trouble with those relations?
Good people skill helps you
- Achieve the project target: Human resource is the most important contributor to achieve the project target. If you have a good people skill, you will manage the human resource perfectly.
- Communicate more effectively: Good people skills help you to express thoughts and feelings effectively. Moreover, you can receive communication from others, understand and respond to them in an appropriate manner.
- Co-operate effectively: Can you manage the project team if you have a bad relationship with them? The answer is impossible. Team is a group people, not individual. It can only become a strong team if all the members of the team cooperate and understand each other.
How to master People Skills?
Mastering people skills is a 5 step process as below -
Step 1) Effective communication
As the highest position in a Team, the Test Manager has to
- Send, receive and process huge numbers of messages from team members every day.
- Discuss & exchange information with others.
- Express different ideas to the project teams effectively.
Effective communication is much more than above functions. It is also about understanding the emotion behind the information. Through the message which you get from others, you can understand what they think, what they feel & respond accordingly.
Effective communication combines a set of skills including
Step 1.1) Listening
Listening is one of the most important aspects of effective communication. Successful listening means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated, but also understanding how the speaker feels about what they are communicating.
The following example is a demonstration of the listening in the communication
Your project team has talented members. One of the team members has very rich experience in testing and works hard. She always proposes new idea to improve the quality of the project.
But recently, she changed, she became sad, de-motivated, and behind your back says bad words about you.
As the Test Manager, you have to do as following
- Your employee may have something to tell you, stop talking and start listening and be patient because not everyone can express his/her thought well
- Don’t act as a boss; keep interacting in your role as a parent or friend. You should listen to her even she has a negative approach towards you or difficulty in communicating with you.
- Make her feel heard and understood which can help build a stronger, deeper connection between you and your members.
- Ask for more information to be sure you heard the whole story because you need to realize her issues, find out what she thought, and resolve them.
The issues in this case are that you did not recognize her contribution although she worked hard, motivated. This thing made her de-motivated.
Step 1.2) Emotional awareness
The secret of successful communication is emotional awareness. All human emotions reflect on face. If you are happy or upset, others can see it via your face, no matter how hard you try to avoid this.
Be aware and understand other’s emotion, it helps you to realize their feeling. Will help you find out their true concern and resolve it.
Step 1.3) Talking
After listening, you already understood which your people want, how they feel. It’s time to express your idea, your thought. You need talking skill. Your expression is represented via the words you said, your voice and your body language
Following figure shows you the way your message is conveyed
- The words: The message which you convey to other must be clear, easy to understand and focus on the main point. Do not talk too much or nobody understands what you said.
- The voice: The voice you speak is responsible for about 40% of the message we are sending. Tone involves the volume you use, the level and type of emotion that you communicate and the emphasis that you place on the words that you choose.
- Body language: Body language is the various forms of non-verbal communication, wherein a person may reveal clues as to some unspoken intention or feeling through their physical behavior. The body language includes:
Have knowledge of the body language and understanding what it means, you can
- Learn to read people more easily
- Have more effective communication with them.
- Increase your understanding of others
- Become more aware of the messages that you convey to them
See the importance of the talking skill via the following scenario
You found a new solution to speed up the test execution for the project Guru99 Bank. How do you persuade the team members to use your solution?
Let’s present your idea to the project team using the talking skill which you have learned
In the above example, by using a proper tone of voice, you focused on the main point. The emphasis on a particular word (productivity, cost, 30%) implies additional information than what the words say. Combining the body language such as eye, gesture, you are successful in persuading the team members to use your solution
Step 2) Building relationships
Have you ever asked yourself a question?
How good are your relationships between you and your team?
Take the online test below, and click the "Calculate" button at the foot of the test to evaluate your relationships
|1||I appreciate other members who work with me|
|2||I take the initiative in resolving the conflict|
|3||I am active and creative|
|4||I pay attention and listen to the others even they say negative words|
|5||I think I am the boss! Everyone must obey me|
You can self-evaluate your relationships base on the score interpretation below
|10-12||You have a strong relationship with your team members. You have the potential ability to lead the project team to the success|
|7-9||You recognized that working well with others in the workplace is important, but you performed not so well. Anyway, you still have a chance to improve your relationship|
|0-6||You have a bad relationship with others in your team. It is your weak point. You must work more collaboratively to achieve your target in building relationship|
Building relationships is an important factor within the project team. It’s all about getting people to like and to trust you so that they can do what you need.
There’re 3 steps which you should follow to build a good relationship
Step 2.1) Make the connection
There’re many people, who have particular personalities, different skills, in the project team.
If these people with such skills and personal can connect as a group, it will build a strong business relationship, strong confidence. One person cannot do anything, but a group of people can do everything.
Step 2.2) Getting personal
One of the best ways to build a strong relationship is getting personal. While discussing project, issues are usually the main purpose of speaking with someone, finding out something personal about them and it takes the relationship to the next level.
Consider the following scenario
Your team has 2 talented and experienced members. As Test Manager, you also realize their talent and want to build a good relationship with them. However, you don’t have any idea about their personal such as their family, their hobbies…Etc.
B) No Problem. I can build a good relationship with them because I am their manager!
C) I don't know how
One of the best ways to build a strong relationship is getting personal. While discussing the project, the issue is usually the main purpose of speaking with someone, finding out something personal about them to take the relationship to the next level.
Step 2.3) Establish healthy culture
B) I am a member of the project team. I have to trust and obey the manager
C) My project team is like my family. I love them.
When a member feels that he is a member of the family, where others respect him and trust him, he will work with the great motivation, the best effort.
Step 3) Influencing people
What will you do in case of nobody in the project team listens and obeys your order? Although you are the Test Manager, but you no longer have any real influence over your team member.
This topic will answer your questions
- How to influence people by increasing your credibility, trustworthiness and communication skills
- What are the characteristics that make some people more influential than others?
The Test Manager role requires you to influence project members all of the time. Influence people is-
Being a Test Manager with excellent influence skill, you can easily have team members do what you want & make your job easier.
To become a great influencer, you have to:
- Combine the interpersonal skills, communication skills, presentation and listening skills.
- Adapt and modify your personal style, change your behavior and attitude to the member whom you are working with
Step 4) Motivating People
The project Guru99 is in very hard time. The deadline is coming, but there’s a lot of work to do in this project. Many issues occurred such as project budget is cut down, not enough human resource. The project teams are losing their hope; they are discouraged.
In such case, you have to encourage them, give them HOPE, and let your team know that they are capable of achieving any goal they have set for themselves. It is the principle of people motivation
You may ask a question
Some people think that money and bonus were the best way to motivate people. Pay raises were given to the employee with outstanding performance; appreciate their achievement by salary promotion.
However, in case the company is in a hard situation, money is not the only way to motivate people. The Test Manager should find out the other ways to motivate his project members
- Appreciation: In your team, some members gave an outstanding performance. As the Test Manager, you should call attention to their outstanding work; show them your appreciation of their contribution.
- Opportunity: Provide opportunities for high potential talent to continue learning, growing, and developing their skills, such as by leading some parts of the project. Let them have a chance to prove their ability, skill up them self.
- Positive: Always finding a creative way to stay happy and make others work with a positive attitude is the best way to motivate people.
Here are some recommended activities, which you should do to motivate team members, in the project Guru99 Bank.
- Make people think they are not just a project team, they are a family
- Create a friendly, closely, and funny atmosphere in the team.
- Show respect for people around you. Even you are the Manager; you have to do it with compassion, kindness, humility and sincerity.
- Pride: The best way to motivate your employees is to find ways that they can take pride in their skills and their knowledge. Always respect others as well as appreciate them for their contribution, which is a good way to make them proud of their work.
The following example show you the importance of the pride in motivating people
One member of project team would like to propose his idea about improving the quality of the project. Here’re 2 different behaviors of the Test Manager.
The Behavior A
The Behavior B
In above scenario, if you do like the test manager A, nobody will propose or share their insights and ideas anymore. They become a passive follower and just work for their paychecks.
Step 5) Handling ethical issues
What will you do in case some members of your team do as following?
Above cases are examples of ethical issues in the workplace. They are a big trouble nuisance for any project.
Project team is a business group. It has its own rule and all the members in this group must follow this rule. Ethics in the workplace are important because it creates a secure and content work environment.
Back to the project Guru99 Bank, if the cases mentioned above happen, what would you do? The following interactive shows you some recommendations to handle the ethical issues in your project
I will create certain guidelines that shoud be followed to make sure no personal work is done during business hours
Ethical issue 2 :Team members use project equipment for personal use
I will educate them on general ethical principles, help them to be aware of the importance of work ethics