What attributes do you think someone needs to be a good project manager? Whether you’re wondering whether you could cut it as a project manager or you’re a current PM looking for ways to develop your skills and improve in your role, we thought we’d run through some of the key skills project managers should possess.
Project managers have to communicate along multiple channels, and they need to be able to do so effectively. You’ll be communicating with your team members and employees, the client, stakeholders, your managers or bosses, vendors and suppliers, and perhaps more. Open and effective communication is essential for keeping all these parties in the loop. For example, your team members need to know what their roles are in this project, and the client will want updates on the status of the project throughout.
Project managers need to take on the role of a leader, not just a manager or boss. What’s the difference? This image sums it up nicely:
Leadership involves leading by example, doing the right things and not just saying the right things. A good leader inspires and motivates his team to achieve their shared goals. This is an important skill for all project managers.
A project manager’s enthusiasm also helps to inspire and motivate his team. If you’re passionate about your work and enthusiastic about getting it done, then this will rub off on your employees. Treat your job like a chore and your team will be less motivated as well. Plus, if you are pessimistic about your team’s ability to meet a deadline, then your team will be, too. In the end, they’ll be less likely to meet their deadline because of your negative attitude.
Works well under pressure
We recently talked about how stressful project management can be, especially when something goes wrong mid-project. As a project manager, you need to be able to handle the pressure that’s piled on leading up to a deadline. If you can keep a calm head under pressure, then you’ll continue to work effectively and you’ll help your team to stay calm, too. Even if you’re feeling the pressure of a looming deadline, you need to remain collected and appear in control to keep the team moving.
Another skill that helps when you hit a roadblock in a project is the ability to solve problems. There will be times when you’ll have to throw the plan out of the window and think of a new way around a problem while still reaching your goal and deadline. It’s also important to encourage the same skills in your team so that you can solve problems together or an employee can solve a problem they face without having to come to you every time.
Successful project management relies on a lot of planning and the ability to stay on top of everything throughout the course of a project. This requires organization skills, or else your team and the project will be all over the place. Luckily, there are lots of online tools to help project managers get organized and stay that way, including LogicalPlan. So, if this is one of your weak points, employing the right tools will help you get there.
It’s not just about being able to lead others toward getting the job done, you also need to be knowledgeable about the industry you’re working in. If you’ve moved into a new industry or if you work freelance for companies in multiple industries, then make sure you read up on the company and gain any industry knowledge you need before you start the project. It also helps to be technologically savvy so you can adapt to using new project management tools and demonstrate to your team how to use them.
On top of the skills and qualities discussed above, here are a few more areas you might want to improve on if you want to succeed as a project manager:
- Decision-making skills
- Ability to delegate
- Team-building skills
If you’re a project manager, save or memorize this list so you can work on improving on the areas you think are your weak points out of all these skills and qualities. And let us know what qualities you think are the most important for project managers.