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Project management

Kia Ora and Kia Kaha: 10 Must-Have Skills for Kiwi Project Managers

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Rhona
12 February 2024

After recovering from an incredible Waitangi day spent on the beach (which may or may not have agreed with my Scottish skin), I thought I would honour this incredible place we call home with a New Zealand-themed Blog.

For all the project managers in the land of the long white cloud. Whether you’re wrangling sheepdogs across paddocks or leading tech startups in Auckland, the core skills needed for success stay the same. But with a Kiwi twist, of course! Here are the top 10 skills you need to be a “waka kāre” (effective) project manager in Aotearoa New Zealand:

1. Communication that Sings Like a Tui:

You know how a Tui can switch between sweet melodies and loud, raspy calls? That’s the kind of communication flexibility you need. Clearly explain complex tasks to the “gumboots and all” crew, then switch to diplomatic mode when dealing with stakeholders in suits. Active listening is key, whether it’s deciphering indecipherable business speak “progressively enhance elastic benefits anyone” or understanding the unspoken needs of a quiet team member.

2. Time Management like a Haka Leader:

Remember how a haka leader expertly guides the group, ensuring each step is powerful and precise? That’s your time management style. Juggling deadlines, tasks and unexpected sheep-related detours requires masterful scheduling and organisation. Tools are great, but your adaptability keeps the project moving like a river flowing to the Tasman Sea.

3. Leadership that Inspires like a Pōhutukawa Bloom:

Picture a vibrant pōhutukawa flower, attracting bees and creating a vibrant scene. That’s your leadership style! Motivate your team, delegate tasks with trust and empower them to shine. Be the pōhutukawa that brings out the best in everyone, from the tech-savvy millennial to the seasoned farmer with generations of wisdom.

4. Organisation that Rivals a Weka’s Nest:

Weka are notorious neat freaks and you should be too! Information chaos is the enemy of progress. Implement clear systems for tasks, schedules and communication. Remember, a well-organised project plan is like a well-built waka – it takes the team where they need to go smoothly and efficiently.

5. Problem-Solving like a Kiwi MacGyver:

MacGyver could fix anything with a paperclip and bubblegum. Cultivate that resourceful spirit! Unexpected challenges are inevitable, like surprise weather changes or team member mishaps. Think creatively, use your network and find solutions that would make MacGyver himself proud.

6. Negotiation Skills Sharper than a Pounamu Axe:

Negotiating budgets, deadlines and expectations is part of the game. Hone your skills like a pounamu carver, finding win-win solutions that satisfy everyone involved. Remember, Manaakitanga (respect) goes a long way, even in the toughest negotiations.

7. Technical Prowess like a Silver Fern on a Rocket:

While you don’t need to be an expert in every field, basic technical understanding is crucial. Whether it’s construction software or marketing analytics, grasp the fundamentals and learn quickly. This fluency builds trust with your team and helps you make informed decisions.

8. Collaboration that Thrives like Kauri in a Forest:

No project is an island. Foster collaboration like a Kauri forest, where diverse trees support and strengthen each other. Encourage open communication, celebrate diversity and build a team that values everyone’s unique contribution.

9. Adaptability like a Kea in the Mountains:

Kea parrots are known for their resourcefulness and ability to thrive in changing environments. Embrace that adaptability! Be prepared for the unexpected, be flexible with plans and roll with the punches like a true Kiwi. Remember, even the most detailed plan can’t predict a rogue possum causing havoc!

10. Humour that Sparkles like a Glowworm Cave:

Kiwis are known for their dry wit and ability to laugh at themselves. Let that humour shine through! A lighthearted approach can diffuse tension, boost morale and make challenges more manageable. Remember, laughter is the best medicine, even in the midst of project chaos.
By honing these 10 skills, you’ll be a project manager who can navigate the ever-changing landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand with confidence and success. Kia Kaha and lead your team to achieve greatness!

Bonus Tip:

Remember the spirit of Whanaungatanga (building relationships). Strong relationships with your team, stakeholders and community are the foundation of any successful project in New Zealand. So, get out there, connect and build a network that supports you and your project every step of the way.

Psoda Plug:

Are you ready to take your project management to the next level? Sign up for a free personalised demo of Psoda

Rhona Aylward avatar
Written by Rhona Aylward
Rhona is Deputy Everything Officer at Psoda, where she does everything except code. After starting life as a microbiologist she moved into PMO leadership roles around the world before settling in New Zealand with her family.

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