Project Manager’s Soft Skills and Performance of Projects in Non-Governmental Organizations in Nairobi City County, Kenya
Kahaso, Dena Hellen
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Project managers play an important role in the design, development and implementation of a project. In order to do this, the project managers need to be well skilled to handle all stakeholders while ensuring project success, hence the need for them to possess special skills. A project manager’s skills are critical for the success of a project. Despite this minimal thought is usually given to soft skills and their influence on improving project performance. As many NGOs move towards a project oriented approach, it creates the need to understand the role of soft skills a project manager possess and how they impact the performance of projects. Even though several studies on the importance of soft skills in project success have been conducted internationally, regionally and locally, there has been significant analytical, methodological and contextual inconsistencies identified, necessitating a study to investigate the gap. This study sought to investigate the influence of project manager’s soft skills on project performance in NGOs within Nairobi City County, Kenya. The objectives of this study were to: determine how project leadership, project communication, team building and conflict management influence the project performance in NGOs in Nairobi City County, Kenya. Five major theories guided this study, these were: Contingency theory, Communication Accommodation theory, Bruce Tuckman theory, Modern theory and Theory of Constraints. The study employed both descriptive and explanatory research design while stratified sampling was used to determine the projects to be used in this study. A sample size of 160 respondents were selected, 4 of which were used in the pilot study. Structured questionnaires were distributed to respondents to aid in collecting data. The Statistical package SPSS aided in data analysis. Standard deviation, frequencies, mean and percentages were used to relate the different variables in the study. Pearson correlation and multiple regression were carried out to determine how the variables are related. The study finding were that even though project leadership had a positive relationship with project performance, it was not statistically significant. Project communication, team building and conflict management had a positive relationship which was statistically significant with project performance. The study concluded that project communication, team building and conflict management were significant predictors of project performance. Team building was found to have the greatest positive and statistically significant influence on the performance of projects. The study found that project leadership was not a significant predictor of project performance. This implied that a project manager’s leadership skills should not be relied upon heavily to improve project performance. The study recommended the adoption of project communication, team building and conflict management in enhancing performance of NGO projects. Project managers should put more emphasis on communication within the team, team building activities and ways to resolve emerging conflict promptly in order to optimize performance of projects.