Professional Development

7 Traits of Successful Project Managers

A project manager’s job is to take a project from planning through completion. Project managers work in a number of fields, from construction to information technology. The project manager must have a number of skills to get the task completed successfully, on time and within budget.

1. Foresight

A successful project manager must be able to anticipate problems before they endanger the completion of the task. This type of risk management helps to ensure that adjustments can be made along the way to allow successful completion.

2. Communication Skills

Good communication skills are critical to the project manager’s job, because he must not only define the scope and details of the project, he must also stay in close communication with his team to ensure that the work is going according to schedule. Good communication skills are also necessary in working with customers, to provide feedback on changes, problems and other matters.

3. The Ability to Motivate

Scheduling can be critical on many projects, and the ability to motivate team members to do their best work within a time frame is an important part of a project manager’s job. Keeping the team organized and positive about their work can go a long way toward keeping the project on track.

4. Good Planning and Budget Management

The proper timing, sequencing, and quality control ensure that projects remain on schedule and within budget. These tasks are organized with project management software so the project manager must be comfortable working with new technologies that can assist in these aspects of management.

5. Practicality

The project manager must have an acute sense of the possible. In budgeting, scheduling and assigning tasks, the project manager must keep a clear view of the practical aspects of the job, ensuring that he has not built in problems that could cause risk to completion. When problems do arise, the project manager must be flexible to find new solutions to keep the project on track, rather than holding to the old schematic that may not be viable.

6. Empathy

The project manager’s job entails highly-refined people skills with a strong sense of empathy. This trait can be helpful in dealing with customers as well as team members. Good listening skills and an ability to understand intent and motivations helps to eliminate conflicting goals. Part of the role of project manager may be to influence customers to abandon requirements that endanger the overall project. Project managers must also listen and appreciate problems the team members may encounter doing their part of the task. Once problems are properly understood, workable solutions can be found.

7. Vigilance

A successful project manager must also be vigilant to what’s going on in various aspects of the project. He must be able to recognize scheduling and budget problems before they become larger issues. He must also design solutions to these problems and have them implemented by team members quickly.

These seven traits are instrumental for success as a project manager in any field. Developing these traits early in their careers will make the individual a valuable asset to any company with complex projects that need careful attention.