It’s that time of the year where I feel like having a bit of fun. So instead of the usual explainer articles with numbers and graphs, I am going to try to explain project managers using their sun signs.
Whether you swear by your astrological signs or think that they are a bunch of hogwash, you cannot deny that astrology and sun signs columns are popular. Very popular.
Research suggests that over 90% of adults know their sun signs. Some surveys also point out that well over half agree that the signs’ character descriptions are a good fit in their life and personality.
I am a non-believer but I have been asked quite a few times by random people – “are you an Aquarius?”. I am. So maybe there is some truth in it.
So I did some research and have come up with some how project managers would behave based on their sun sign. Take it with a pinch of salt though.
Let the fun begin.
Aries Mar 21 – Apr 19
What we like about Aries:
The Aries project manager is bold, adventurous and direct. They have a burning desire to start things off and make things happen. They are often seen as initiators in their organisations. They are able to convince stakeholders effortlessly about project objectives, requirements, project teams, budgets, and other project constraints. If you need someone to push a project through, give it to a Ram.
Why Aries drives us crazy:
Caught up in the excitement of the ever-present new challenge of the moment, which will always consume their entire attention, the Ram’s enthusiastic moves can sometimes trample others, coming across as pushy, bossy, or uncaring. Some Rams lack stability and display a lack of responsibility. Even mature Aries project managers can forget obligations in the thrill of the moment.
Hasty actions and combustible words can get Aries in a soup. Slow down and look before you leap.
Larry Page, Leonardo da Vinci, Lady Gaga
Taurus Apr 20 – May 20
What we like about Taurus:
Taurean project managers are often seen as patient, persistent and practical. Always weighing the risks and rewards, they are careful and risk-averse. That’s why they are considered the best planners when it comes to estimating task budgets, schedules, resources, and other project logistics. In difficult times, stubborn with determination, they will take the team home. They are known for delivering quality and consistent results and are gifted with maintaining razor-sharp focus on long-term projects.
Why Taurus drives us crazy:
The stubborn bull will not give up even when he is wrong. The Taurean, as much as he likes progress, craves for stability and hates changes. Every change request or resource swap that comes in for his projects can get him fuming in seconds.
As they say – Change is the only constant. To make it easier for you, take some time to consider alternate opinions from your team or your boss, else your stubbornness can hurt you.
Mark Zuckerberg, William Shakespeare, George Clooney
Gemini May 21 – Jun 20
What we like about Gemini:
Gemini project managers think fast, communicate well, and are full of ideas. They are also adaptable to change, which makes them a darling of the customers. Their great persuasion skills are a saviour when things go wrong. They are thirsty for knowledge and not afraid to bring in new ideas. They are fun to be around and inspiring!
Why Gemini drives us crazy:
With all this complex and endless energy, it is difficult to tell what side of the Twins is going to emerge. While the Twins like to communicate, listening is not their forte. This can lead to team and customer getting irritated at times. They are also easily distracted causing important items to slip between the cracks.
Extract the important short and long-term items from your projects and develop a habit of looking at them daily. We know you can make the journey fun but completing the project in time and budget is also important. Also, learn to listen to your team. We know it’s hard but give it a shot.
Donald Trump, JFK, Che Guevara, Bob Dylan
Cancer Jun 21 – Jul 22
What we like about Cancer:
Cancerians are a quite devoted and compassionate bunch of folks. Coupled with their abilities to multitask, commitment to solving problems and attention to detail makes them great project managers.
Their sensitive side helps them connect with their team while still staying focused on getting the work done. This makes Cancerian project managers the one in control – the one that holds the fort together with teams, stakeholders and customers at all points of time.
Why Cancer drives us crazy:
Crabs take things personally, overreact and quickly withdraw and retreat to their shells. The project team is always wary of spoiling the crab’s mood! Also, no matter how good the project is progressing, Cancer never feels really secure. This can often make others feel micromanaged or anal.
Don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Postpone important actions when you are not feeling in control.
Elon Musk, Nikola Tesla, Tom Cruise
Leo Jul 23 – Aug 22
What we like about Leo:
Leo project managers are extroverted, proud and bold. They lead their teams during the good, bad and the ugly. Their teams know exactly what they want as they are direct and express themselves without fear. They are rational in their approach and it helps them when dealing with teams, bosses and clients especially when a project hits some unexpected roadblocks.
Why Leo drives us crazy:
Driven by the Sun, the Leo project managers like to be the centre of attraction. Their attention seeking ways can come across as arrogant and rub their teams the wrong way. They also have a tendency to joke about insecurities of their team members which also puts some people off.
As a project manager, you are the leader of your team and they all look up to you. Be firm, but handle them with care. Also, try to stay out of the limelight and give your team a chance. Remember, the best leaders have been those who have stayed in the background in success and in the foreground during failure.
Barack Obama, Sergey Brin, Alfred Hitchcock
Virgo Aug 23 – Sep 22
What we like about Virgo:
Virgo project managers are hardworking, detail-oriented and astute. They are analytical, meticulous and are not afraid to put in those extra hours at work to see their project succeed. They are perfectionists and will try to solve problems the right way instead of finding workarounds. This makes them a great choice for projects that have a long-term impact.
Why Virgo drives us crazy:
Virgo project managers are stressed most of the time worrying about their projects. Coupled with their introverted nature, their team can find them unapproachable at times. Also, being the notorious perfectionists, they are sometimes too critical of their team. They also seem oblivious to their own faults which their teams find difficult to swallow.
Remember, perfection has its costs. Try the 80/20 principle to simplify. Take your team out once in a while and let them get to know you better.
Warren Buffet, Jack Ma, Mother Teresa
Libra Sep 23 – Oct 22
What we like about Libra:
Libra project managers are gentle, fair and charming. They have the rare talent to balance the logical and emotional aspects of managing a team. They focus strongly on partnership and always try to prioritize the needs of their clients. They can effortlessly harmonize conflicts that can happen between different stakeholders. This ability also helps them to manage teams with large egos; for example, Silicon Valley startups.
Why Libra drives us crazy:
While Libra project managers are blessed with a natural sense of right and wrong, they can be very indecisive. This combined with their nature to try and please everyone can make a deadly cocktail for the project and also let others take them for granted.
While it is good to make others happy, keep in mind that the same people will be miffed when the project misses the deadline or exceeds the budget. Try, but don’t promise.
Margaret Thatcher, Confucious, Vladimir Putin
Scorpio Oct 23 – Nov 21
What we like about Scorpio:
Scorpio project managers are passionate, analytical and hands-on. They can foresee risks, raise flags and also mitigate them, across the life cycle of their projects. Not content with the superficial, they dig deep for insight. They thrive in a world of questions and answers and devour data about their projects. This inherent nature makes them great managers for strategic projects where the primary goal is to gain a competitive advantage. They are also good at keeping their emotions under wraps and this helps them deal with teams and clients when the going gets tough.
Why Scorpio drives us crazy:
While their passion is infectious, it can sometimes get the better of them translating into jealousy and control. Sometimes even rage. They don’t engage easily in small talk and their team members can find them unfriendly.
You need to discover the balance between lashing out, which is not good for your team and holding it back, which is not good for you. Remember, it’s nothing personal. Also, take your team out once in a while so that they can get to know you better and develop the confidence to improve their communication with you.
Bill Gates, Tim Cook, Hillary Clinton
Sagittarius Nov 22 – Dec 21
What we like about Sagittarius:
Sagittarius project managers are bold, optimistic, and lucky. They are open to new ideas and don’t shy away from trying them out. They have a positive and outgoing personality that makes them fun to be with. They are great mentors and can bring out the best in their team. Their philosophical outlook is helpful for the team when the going gets tough.
Why Sagittarius drives us crazy:
Their positive attitude and happy-go-lucky nature make their estimations over-optimistic. Their carefree nature can also make them take rash decisions or unnecessary risks that are detrimental to their projects. Their blunt speech can sometimes cause needless bad blood between them and project stakeholders.
Ask yourself, before you try out new ideas, whether they are they really beneficial. Sometimes boring gets the job done more effectively. Also, be a little self-deprecating and tell your team of your foot-in-the-mouth syndrome. You will have an easier time being forgiven the next time it happens.
Steven Spielberg, Walt Disney, Woody Allen
Capricorn Dec 22 – Jan 19
What we like about Capricorn:
Capricorn project managers exemplify the adage – slow and steady wins the race. They are hard-working and stay focused on their project even in the craziest of times. They are meticulous in planning and have a keen sense of the progress during its execution. They are caring and conservative and can lead the team well. If a team member needs something extra, they are happy to provide. Also, their constant endeavour to make things better has a positive effect on project quality.
Why Capricorn drives us crazy:
Capricorn project managers’ passion to succeed coupled with their authoritative manner can make them appear uncaring to their teams. Their penchant for structure can also come across as being too rigid. They also have a tendency to not be satisfied with the progress, no matter how good, which can demoralize the team who start thinking that the bar is always too high.
Project success depends on your team. Be professional, but don’t forget they are emotional beings. Be a bit more flexible – there is more than one way to do things right. Also, remember to appreciate yourself and your team when things are going well.
Jeff Bezos, J. D. Salinger, Stephen Hawking
Aquarius Jan 20 – Feb 18
What we like about Aquarius:
Aquarius project managers are unconventional, intelligent and stimulating. They bring the entrepreneurial spirit in project activities and with their visionary plans, inspire their teams to raise the bar every single day. They aren’t afraid to implement a radical idea or champion an underground cause for their project even in difficult times.
Why Aquarius drives us crazy:
Aquarius project managers are friendly and fun but detached. This can frustrate the team. Because their ideas are often hard for others to relate, communication becomes a problem and adds to this frustration. They are also notorious for putting the project at risk by trying out new ideas when something simpler could have worked equally well.
If you are unable to communicate ideas well, find a member in your team who can communicate them to your team and client. Also, we know of your strong instinct to try out new things. But check if something simpler can work equally well. And try to bond with your team a bit more, it can go a long way in making them comfortable.
Oprah Windfrey, Charles Darwin, Galileo
Pisces Feb 19 – Mar 20
What we like about Pisces:
Pisces project managers are imaginative, dedicated and compassionate. They bring in the human touch to project management and often put their teams’ needs before their own. Their creativity is infectious and they encourage their teams to try new things. Their intuition is highly developed which enable them to look beyond the data while understanding the status of their projects. In a capable team, their hands-off approach can be a big plus.
Why Pisces drives us crazy:
Pisces project managers can have trouble differentiating between fantasy and reality. This can result in some bad estimates and things slipping through the cracks during execution. Over-dependence on intuition can also land them in trouble. Due to their non-confrontational nature, they will not try to resolve conflicts between team members and matters can escalate.
Albert Einstein famously said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. It’s great to dream but it is important to have a foot grounded in reality. Develop a habit to regularly keep a check on the deadlines, budgets and milestones. Also, remember you are the leader and conflicts simply don’t disappear. Stop it before they fester. Your ability to empathize with everyone makes you the ideal choice as a conflict resolver. Don’t shy away from it.
Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, George Washington
So what do you think? Do you agree? Were you able to guess your manager’s sun sign? Whatever it is, I’d love to hear your thoughts.