Projects are the vehicles for business success and project managers (PM) are the captains that help get you there. But having a great captain and an incompetent one can make the difference between your project successfully reaching its mark and having a potentially catastrophic shipwreck. PMs need to be a jack-of-all-trades to truly succeed in our fast-paced and ever-changing environment. Here are the top eleven traits to look out for in your next effective project manager.
1. A Good Leader
This may be an obvious one but proper leadership skills is a lot harder to come by than you might think. Effective leaders do more than simply direct, monitor, and manage people. They need to do so in a way that takes into consideration their opinions, encourages them to do their best and supports them throughout the process. An effective leader should know the strengths and weaknesses of their team and figure out a way to best organize them to achieve project success.
2. A Great Problem Solver
Without a doubt, problems always arise within projects. In our fast-paced world, PMs need to be quick on their feet, calm in their head and decisive to make sure issues are addressed in an appropriate and timely manner.
Sometimes the problems a PM faces are completely new and unknown to them. An effective PM will know how to take the uncertainty with pride and come up with creative solutions to address the issue. They also need to be forward-thinking to pre-empt both potential issues and their consequences as they go to make sure they are making the best decisions.
3. An Effective Communicator
People often make the mistake of believing that effective communication is how well you talk when it has to do a lot more with how well you listen. We all know how it feels to be buried under an ever-growing email inbox constantly pinging with irrelevant updates and the horrible feeling of accidentally missing the important information under all the noise.
Being an effective communicator is all about listening properly, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and filtering what information is relevant and will add value to both parties.
4. A Practical Delegator
An effective PMs task is to assign the right person to the right task to get the right result. They know not only the strengths and weaknesses of each team member but also knows just how much they can push their team members and how much trust they can put in them. Sometimes, team members need that opportunity to discover for themselves what they are capable of. A practical delegator can consider that, weigh it against project risks while building a solutions-focused culture.
5. A Culture Builder
Culture can make the difference between a complacent and passive team with a highly proactive and creative team. Team culture often flows from the head and is not something that can be merely listed on a document but must be lived out by the leaders. If you want a highly collaborative, proactive and initiative-taking team, you need a PM that can build the right environments and culture to enable that.
Culture plays an increasingly important role in project success, particularly in Agile projects, with reports showing over 40% of respondents citing culture clashes as a critical barrier to project success.
6. A Technical Wizz
Now, this may not be a necessity for all projects but the rise of specialized projects, specifically ICT projects means that more technically skilled PMs can be a valuable asset. Trying to lead a project about artificial intelligence can be a challenge if you have no technical experience or knowledge in the field. You may be able to lead the team but you may also miss out on critical opportunities only insiders could have known.
7. A Person of Integrity
Integrity does not only make you look good but it allows people to trust you better. A PM is always communicating progress, setting expectations and providing a realistic picture of the future. However, it can be hard to trust the projections and claims of a PM if they do not actively practice what they preach.
A PM with integrity carries the respect and trust of both their teams and their stakeholders because they have a proven track record of having good judgement, being selfless and making true to their promises. When people trust you more, they are more likely to tell you more – both the good and the bad, which can make all the difference to project success.
8. A Stakeholder-Oriented Leader
Taking into account a wide range of stakeholders, understanding their needs, achieving them within project limitations and setting the right expectations is no easy feat. As projects become more complex and consumers are demanding greater social and environmental responsibility, effective PMs need to be able to think like their stakeholders and engage with them correctly.
9. A Highly Motivated Learner
New challenges and unknowns always arise in projects. An effective PM should always be ready to learn new things and take the initiative to make themselves knowledgeable in all things related to the project. PMs can often fall into complacency if they continue doing repetitive and similar projects. A sign of a great PM is not someone that just carries on with mundane work but someone who constantly seeks opportunities to learn and improve themselves or their team.
10. An Influential Negotiator
A PM is always negotiating with different stakeholders on things such as project budget, schedule and scope. An effective PM needs to be an effective negotiator who resolves conflicts and can ensure all the right elements are there to achieve project success. PMs are a critical figure in maintaining harmonious relationships within teams and between stakeholders, a vital element to project success.
11. A Highly Organized Leader
This one might be obvious but an effective PM is an organized PM. Sometimes being a PM is like constantly juggling fifteen moving parts at the same time and making sure they all stay afloat. Doing that is practically impossible without the proper organizational skills.
A highly effective PM knows how to keep their teams organized both online and offline. Thankfully, there are many innovative PPM solutions like pmo365 on the market that make coordinating with teams, monitoring projects and managing activities a breeze. Make sure your future PM knows how to use and potentially optimize your PPM system to make your projects run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.