What are the most important skills and abilities for a project manager to be successful?
Being good at telling others what to do is not enough and not exactly right for a successful project manager. Instead, lead and inspire the team, this is another story.
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A project manager is responsible for managing the work through the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to meet the requirements of the project.
Knowing the theory of project management, but not having the right skills and abilities, is useless.
Similarly, having the right tools and techniques, but without the ability to use them properly is insignificant.
So let’s see together in this article what are the most important skills and qualities for a project manager.
Inspire a shared vision
A successful project manager is often described as a person who owns and inspires the group a shared vision of where to go and has the ability to articulate it.
Visionaries thrive in change and are able to draw new boundaries.
Once it was said that …
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a leader is someone who gives us a reason to be and gives the vision and the spirit to change.
Visionary leaders let people feel that they have a real interest in the project and allow people to experience this vision, create it, and explore it.
The ability to communicate with people at all levels has always been considered a fundamental skill in project managers.
The leadership of the project requires clear communication on goals, responsibilities, performance, expectations, and feedback.
The project manager is also the team’s connection with the organization and therefore must have the ability to negotiate and effectively use persuasion, when necessary, to ensure the success of the team and the project.
Through effective communication, project leaders support individual and group results by creating explicit guidelines for achieving results and advancing team members’ careers.
One of the most important things a project manager has to remember is that his actions, not his words, determine the modus operandi for the team.
Good leadership requires commitment and demonstration of ethical practices.
Creating standards of ethical behaviour for themselves and following them, in addition to rewarding those who exemplify them, are the responsibilities of project managers.
Leadership motivated by personal interest does not serve the general well-being of the team.
Integrity-based leadership represents nothing less than a set of values shared by others, behaviour that is consistent with values and dedication to honesty with oneself and with team members.
In a very clear and simple way, negative project managers break down and discourage the team.
People always tend to follow positive people with a so-called “can-do” attitude, not those that always give reasons why something cannot be done.
Enthusiastic project managers are committed to their goals and express this commitment through optimism.
Leadership emerges when someone expresses a commitment in such a manner that others want to share his optimistic expectations.
Enthusiasm is contagious and successful project managers know this well.
Empathy presupposes the existence of the other as a separate individual with his own feelings, ideas, and emotional histories.
Understanding and caring for people, as well as being grateful for their help, are some of the qualities that a successful project manager shows to his team members.
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it is particularly appreciated by the team when a project leader recognizes the fact that everyone has a life outside of work.
Of course, to believe in another person – especially in work – we need to make sure that person knows what he is doing.
Leadership competence does not necessarily refer only to the technical skills of the project manager, but also to the ability to successfully lead the team.
The ability to challenge, inspire, enable, shape, and encourage must be demonstrated if a project manager wants to be seen as capable, competent, and successful.
Ability to delegate tasks
Trust is an essential element in the relationship between a project manager and his team.
And this trust in others must be shown through the actions of the project manager, like for example: How much he controls the work of the team members, how much he delegates, how much he allows people to participate in the project.
Individuals who are unable to trust other people often fail as project managers and find themselves doing all the work on their own to the detriment of the project’s success.
Ability to manage stress and work under pressure
In a perfect world, projects would be delivered on time, within budget, and without major issues or obstacles to overcome.
But we know, we don’t live in a perfect world: Projects always have problems, more or less serious depending on the situation.
A successful project manager will then react to these problems calmly and will not panic.
When leaders encounter a stressful event, they consider it interesting, they feel they can influence the result and see it as an opportunity and not as something purely negative.
From the uncertainty and chaos of change, successful project managers articulate a new picture of the future that still leads the project towards a positive ending.
Team building skills
A project manager is a strong person who provides the substance that keeps the team together in a common purpose towards the final goal.
In order for a team to move from a group of strangers to a single cohesive unit, the project manager must understand the process and the dynamics required for this transformation.
He must also know the appropriate leadership style to use during each phase of team development.
Last but not least, the successful project manager must also understand the different styles and characters of the team members and be able to take advantage of everyone at the right time.
Ability to solve problems
Although it is said that an effective project manager shares responsibility for solving problems with the team, it is still expected that the project leader has excellent problem-solving skills.
In conclusion, creating realistic project plans, budgets, estimate times and efforts, etc. are certainly skills that a successful project manager must possess.
But keeping the work organized and the team informed and happy is fundamental and these skills are what a project manager needs to succeed in his work.