In today’s article I would like to delve into the concepts of attitude and aptitude , which unfortunately are confused in many companies.

Not long ago I reread one of the classic articles by communication crack Victor Küppers : 7 Differences between a leader and a mushroom  that I recommend you read, since in addition to being fun it is very illustrative.

In this article, Küppers emphasizes the attitude, the way of acting and impacting others, and the positive energy that a good leader must reflect. Many of the things discussed in the article seem obvious, but they do not stop being very important.

Many companies spend time and effort improving the skills of the professionals who make them up and forget about something equally or perhaps more importantly, attitudes.

First of all for the neophytes in the subject, we will differentiate the 2 words:

  1. Aptitude: Refers to “hard skills”, technical skills or knowledge. The talent, ability or skill we have to carry out our tasks.
  2. Attitude: It refers to how we behave, how we face different situations (positively, negatively, etc.) and is more related to “soft skills” and emotional intelligence.

Both attitude and aptitude can be innate to the person or acquired over time, either through personal experiences or specific training focused on improving them.

In most selection processes when you go to a job interview, they tend to focus more on skills, usually leaving attitude aside. MISTAKE

I personally believe that attitude is as or more important than aptitude and should be valued and developed as another capacity.

Especially for a team manager or project manager profile, attitude is of vital importance, since we will be dealing with problems, complex situations and in most cases people will intervene, and we already know that few things are more complex than relationships human.

We are told in the PMBOK Sixth Edition that the Project Manager must invest up to 90% of his time in communication (referring to the management of information, both oral and written, that is given in the project). This implies collecting information, analyzing it, communicating it, making it reach the different stakeholders, holding meetings, resolving conflicts, managing the team, etc.

To be an efficient project manager, it is necessary to have a positive, optimistic attitude and face problems directly and with the desire to find a solution by collaborating with those affected.

I have experienced “complicated” situations throughout my professional life, where I have observed totally erroneous behavior, embittered leaders, with the whip in hand and seeking to “squeeze the team” so that they meet the objectives set (many times objectives set by unilaterally by himself, without taking into account the team).

Many companies place more importance on “presenteeism”, that is, all staff are “warming their seats” in the office until dismissal time, regardless of workload or priority of work to be done.

The new Agile management models are precisely what they are looking for is to promote a positive attitude throughout the team in order to obtain maximum performance with minimum wear and tear.

People are empowered, they are given the power to make decisions, solve problems and prioritize work, that is, to achieve self-managing teams.

Here the Project Manager becomes a coach, facilitator of the process and companion, serving at all times as a key element for communication between the team and management layers.

As Küppers rightly points out in his article: «When one focuses on helping and serving others so that they grow and develop as people, then it is brutal and very rewarding work, because it manages to bring out the best in each person so that in addition to “know” how to do things, “want” to do them by putting their best efforts into it»

Of course, the skills of a professional are important and basic too, but from my personal point of view, I consider that it is easier to learn “skills” than not to change certain “attitudes”

Yes, it is true that the day to day often exceeds us, the workload, delivery deadlines, pressure from sponsors and clients, etc. But we must be able to stop, and «listen» our emotions and «modulate them» to that they are correct.

The ability we have to understand ourselves and our emotional state will in many cases be the key to ending up being a successful project manager, and for others to see us as a leader and not as a mushroom 🙂

And you do you think? Is attitude or aptitude more important? I look forward to your comments in the section below.

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