A successful project manager requires more than just the basics, it takes strategic thinking, an agile way of working and great people management skills.
Project managers know that their role needs to include the ability to schedule, delegate and make the financial figures add up. This is a basic requirement. However, not all project managers know what will elevate them to the next level of project management success. We’re here to tell you the project management skills that will turn a good project manager into an outstanding one.
The ability to build teams
A great project manager has instinctive emotional intelligence, they know when to gently encourage team members and when to push them. Understanding what will motivate people requires empathy. Good communication skills are key here too.
A successful project manager will work in an agile way, not getting caught up in too much of the detail but instead keeping in mind what the ultimate target is, and responding flexibly to changing situations to allow them to achieve this. They will respond calmly and decisively to any obstacles. Details are important but successful project management means looking at the bigger picture of what the project is trying to achieve and doesn’t necessarily mean sticking to the original plan.
Delegation and collaboration
A good project manager will understand the importance of using all stakeholders and team members to achieve the goal. This enables everyone to take ownership of the project and work together.
Asking the right questions, evaluating the situation and coming up with innovative solutions in response to problems is a sign of a great project manager.
Identifying strengths in the team
Getting team members to play to their strengths is a great way of delegating tasks to the best person for the role. It’s also really important to involve the team at an early stage in the project in order to win their support. A supportive team can be the difference between success and failure of a project. Making a team member feel important and valuable by singling them out for a role that they will be good at can be very motivating. It also empowers the team and allows them to take ownership, rather than leading only from the top down.
A highly successful project manager will know their subject matter inside and out and will take any opportunity to learn more. This is true of the very experienced project manager as well as the project manager apprentice. Having a good understanding of the area you work in helps you to follow an agile approach and make quick decisions.
These are the characteristics and skills of a successful project manager. Some are innate, such as emotional intelligence, but most of this is learned and equipping yourself with the relevant skills to elevate yourself to a great project manager rather than just as good one is the key to a successful and satisfying career.