Can anyone be a project manager? Can I be a project manager? I have had a lot of people ask me these questions. But project management is quite a specialized task and it requires a certain set of skills. Great project managers are nearly impossible to find and the ability to meet deadlines is not the only desired characteristic. Great Project Managers maintain a delicate balance between managing teams and meeting goals. Here are some of the most important characteristics that Project Managers need to exhibit.
Good Communication drives the project towards success
Communication skills are paramount for project managers, which is why this is first on our list. Project managers need to be clear in communicating about goals, deadlines, responsibilities, expectations, performance and feedback.
A project manager needs to be direct and open to ensure minimal misunderstandings. Essentially, they are links between the employees and those higher in the organization. Effective communication will help project managers support individuals and their team and project, by creating clear cut goals and guidelines to achieve goals.
Integrity goes a long way
Actions speak louder than words. It is important for you to realize that your actions, not your words set an example for the team. When leading a team, one must demonstrate ethical practices. One must adhere to these at all times.
Great project managers create ethical standards for themselves and their team members. You can also reward those who follow the practices set. But setting up values that others share, you can build trust between yourself and subordinates.
Build momentum with enthusiasm
Another vital characteristic of great project managers is enthusiasm. Those managers who display negativity are frowned upon. It hurts the chances of a positive project outcome. We want leaders who show enthusiasm, a spring in their step, high spirits and a can-do attitude.
Enthusiastic leaders will be more determined to achieve their goals and will give optimistic feedback.
Your enthusiasm will eventually rub off on your co-workers, making them as excited to complete projects as you are. So stay upbeat even when you think the project isn’t where it should be.
Empathy is what makes you stand out as a leader
Coworkers and employees have lives outside the office too. Your employees realize that your project is important to you, but they are not bound to their desks. Great project managers acknowledge that their team members are human. That they have feelings, issues and private lives.
Sure, a project is important too, but it comes secondary to our lives. Respecting the boundaries of employees and helping them manage a work-life balance builds loyalty in teams.
Competence and technical knowledge will earn you respect
Competence is the knowledge of what one is doing. This is crucial for project managers. Would you follow a project manager who didn’t know what they were doing? I didn’t think so.
Project managers are not only chosen for their ability to successfully lead their team, but also for their extensive technical expertise.
Your past experiences will play a part in whether you are considered competent to manage a project. Leadership competence is another area focused upon when considering a project manager.
One must inspire, lead, encourage and guide their team to be an effective project manager.
How you handle pressure makes all the difference
Pressure in the work environment is normal, but how you handle is the difference between an average project manager and a great one. In an ideal world, all projects would be completed on time, with no pressure, within the budget and with no issues.
Too bad we don’t live in an ideal world. Many great project managers thrive under pressure and they love the idea of being able to influence the outcome of a project.
Delegate for Productivity
To delegate effectively, you need one other quality – trust. This trust needs to be established between the manager and his/her team. This is done by effectively demonstrating trust through your participation, control and checks, and the management of projects.
Those who cannot trust their subordinates will ultimately fail as leaders because they are too busy micro-managing.
Great leaders build strong teams
A team builder is someone who can hold the team together to steer them in the right direction. To form a cohesive group the leader needs to adopt an appropriate leadership style, which will be acceptable to everyone.
You can then implement those skills at different points in time to deal with issues as they arise.
A problem-solving attitude will ensure a smooth sail
Another characteristic of being a great project manager is your ability to solve problems as and when they arise, without getting flustered. Usually project managers have fresh responses up their sleeves at all times, to tackle all sorts of problems, big or small.
Share your vision and empower your team
A great project manager is someone who has a very specific vision of where they want to go and what they wish to achieve. Visionaries are those leaders who feel they can have a real impact on the project. They empower others and share their visions with them by helping them envision their future within the organization.
Do you want to be a great project manager? Has this proved helpful or would you do anything differently? Drop us a comment below.
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