I am studying for my PMP (Project Management Professional) certificate and exam that I take SOON! In Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep Seventh Edition, she discusses effective communication models as part of the standards, which have been identified by the Project Management Institute as best practices in project management. Having to meet certain standards in the professional world is something I feel every company/organization should work up to, as the definition of standard is: a level of quality or attainment. I find that creating standards is helpful, and should be something we strive for.
That being said, most standards I am learning about to become a PMP somehow relates to creating standards in personal life also - and in particular my relationship with my sweetheart. I find that when something is top of mind that everything seems to relate to it, if we seek the connection. And so, here is how I think the PMP relates to my marital relationship.
Human Resource Management: I read that there are several different leadership styles including, supporting, autocratic, consultative, consensus, delegating, bureaucratic, charismatic, etc. In the autocratic way of leadership, the manager has the power to do whatever they want, and when it is demanded, people do it. In the consultative leadership role, the manager uses their influence and others' opinions/ideas to achieve results.
I thought about what leadership role I execute in my relationship with my sweetheart. I find it is hard not to be autocratic because I just want to get 'it' done - whatever 'it' means. 'It' can be defined as doing the dishes, making decisions on where to live, selling parts to the broken tv, etc. I just want to say "OK, the dishes are in the sink, it's time to do them," or "The tv better be gone by tomorrow since it will most likely sit in the house, broken for ages." But that is not the best role for me to execute in my relationship with my sweetheart. The best role in this situation is consultative. Discussing who should do the dishes and what should be done with the tv, seem to be the most effective form of communication and reduces overall conflict.
Conflict Resolution: The book says that conflict could be caused by personality differences, and is often avoided where possible. In addition, some people turn to physical separation as a way to resolve conflict, which tends to enhance the conflict. The book suggests that Project Managers (PM's) look at new ways to deal with conflict, and changing their overall perception of conflict. The books suggests that conflict is supposed to happen. It is natural to have conflict in organizations, just like it is natural to have conflict in relationships. Once PM's regard conflict this way, and once I start changing my perception, conflict will be easier to manage, because I am not trying to avoid it. Conflict can also help. With anything that is growing and progressing, it is important to realize that conflict can be beneficial, and help companies adapt and grow toward a common goal. Isn't it the same in my relationship? You bet. Even though sometimes the conflict hurts. In addition, conflict is resolved by open communication, and involves problem solving techniques. Not much is needed as a follow up here. Just an AMEN.
Communication Management: Most of what is communicated is nonverbal. The book discusses physical mannerisms and how that aids or deters effective communication. I notice that my sweetheart thinks I am uninterested in what he is saying when I look tired. It is important for me to strive to be better at expressing my interest particularly when I am tired. The book also says that paralingual communications, or rather the pitch and tone of voice, also affects effective communication. I can't tell you how true this is. When my pitch rises, my sweetheart thinks I am getting angry, and vice versa. I may just think I am passionate about the subject, but it is important for me to maintain a certain voice that allows for openness. It also lets the receiver interpret the information without the added pressure of reading into my volume.
Risk Management: A PM's work should not focus on dealing with problems, but rather working to prevent them. I love this standard. Often when I am dealing with problems, I am not having a good time, am often cross and tired, and don't enjoy the journey. I really do believe that if I could spend more time working to prevent conflict, the journey wouldn't be so bumpy, and I might enjoy it a lot more. I have yet to discover how to practice this in my marital relationship.
I am sure there are several other things that I could relate, but these were top of mind. Who knew that project management had so much correlation to my personal marital journey? I think it would be funny to put a project management plan together and present it to my sweetheart. Perhaps I will!