101 Characteristics of a Project Manager

Home Forums General Discussion 101 Characteristics of a Project Manager

This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Michelle 3 years, 1 month ago.

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • #15486


    A 2011 paper by Bakhsheshi & Nejad “Impact of Project Managers’ Personalities on Project Success in Four Types of Project” compiled a list of the personal characteristics required in a project manager based on other research. The list amounts to 101 traits!

    I can’t imagine any project manager could exist with all of these traits – what do you think?

    Personal Characteristics:

    1. Flexibility
    2. Adaptability
    3. Initiative
    4. Leadership
    5. Aggressiveness
    6. Confidence
    7. Persuasiveness
    8. Verbal Fluency
    9. Ambition
    10. Activity
    11. Forcefulness
    12. Effective Communicator and Integrator
    13. Broad Scope Of Personal Interests
    14. Poise
    15. Enthusiasm
    16. Imagination
    17. Spontaneity
    18. Balance Technical Solutions With Time, Cost, and Human Factors
    19. Well Organized
    20. Disciplined
    21. A Generalist Rather Than A Specialist
    22. Able and Willing To Devote Time To Planning And Controlling
    23. Able To Identify Problems
    24. Willing To Make Decisions
    25. Able To Maintain Proper Balance in the Use Of Time
    26. Multidisciplinary Oriented
    27. Global Problem Oriented
    28. Effective Decision Maker
    29. Problem Solver
    30. Have Management Knowledge
    31. Have Analytical Ability
    32. Creative
    33. Impressive Communicator
    34. Motivator
    35. Flexible
    36. Proper Temperament Such As Calm, Realistic, Quick Thinking
    37. Drive
    38. Ambition
    39. The Desire To Lead and Influence Others
    40. Honesty
    41. Integrity
    42. Self-Confidence
    43. Intelligence
    44. Technical Knowledge
    45. Problem-Solving Ability
    46. Results Orientation
    47. Energy
    48. Initiative
    49. Self-Confidence
    50. Perspective
    51. Communication Ability
    52. Negotiation Ability
    53. Having Vision and Clear Picture About Future
    54. Goal Directed
    55. Clear Purpose For Going Ahead and Achieving Goals
    56. Self-Control
    57. Self-Discipline
    58. Aptitude For Communication
    59. Energy
    60. Persistence
    61. Positive Attitude
    62. Aptitude for Dealing With Problems
    63. Risk Evaluations
    64. Honesty
    65. Integrity
    66. Understanding Project Team Problems
    67. Having Knowledge About Project Technology
    68. Business Management Competence
    69. Understands Management Principals
    70. Alertness
    71. Quickness
    72. Versatility
    73. Energy
    74. Toughness
    75. Decision Making Ability
    76. Self-Awareness
    77. Self-Management
    78. Social-Awareness
    79. Relationship Management Skills
    80. Honest
    81. Competent
    82. Forward Looking
    83. Inspiring
    84. Intelligent
    85. Fairness
    86. Open Minded
    87. Courageous
    88. Straight forward
    89. Imaginative
    90. Ambition
    91. Drive
    92. Tenacity
    93. Self-Confidence
    94. Psychological Openness
    95. Realism
    96. Appetite For Learning
    97. Loyalty
    98. Ethical
    99. Self-Awareness
    100. Inventive
    101. Firmness



    Gordon MacKay

    Hi Michelle

    ‘(5) Aggressiveness’
    I once read a novel called ‘Shibumi’ which is a Japanese word meaning ‘authority without domination’. I like that. Aggressiveness is usually counterproductive with fallout from resentment following. It is not a characteristic compatible with true leadership, and not the same as ‘assertiveness’ which of course is necessary and appropriate on occasion, though notable by its absence from this list.

    ‘(38) (AND (90)??) Ambition’ and ‘(39) The Desire to Lead and Influence Others’.
    It is paradoxical but in great leaders ((4) Leadership) these characteristics are notable by their absence; they almost find themselves thrust forward by others rather than dominating by aggression. The culture and climate of fear the latter precipitates is, I imagine, something we aspire to move beyond. Also 38 and 39 both lead to corruption; that famed corollary of power because, just as we see with politicians, the desire for, and retention of it compromises individual integrity.
    I would add that I see as quite different to 38 and 39 the desire to ‘make a difference’: here the self is secondary: the ‘end’ is not self aggrandisement, or personal power, but realising the objective.

    ‘(1) Flexibility’ and ‘(35) Flexible'(??) What is the difference I wonder?

    Years ago there was a much feted TV play called ‘Abigail’s Party’ in which neighbours got together and the personalities emerged through conversation. Angela; a nurse, seems meek and retiring throughout until Laurence suffers a heart attack. Suddenly, ‘out of nowhere’ it feels, Angela emerges into her own. The transformation in herself and the reactions of all around her in stark contrast to their ‘dismissal’ of her before, is remarkable. My point is that I suspect that most functional humans exhibit most of the above (technical i.e. 67,68 & 69, excepted) characteristics at one time or another as elicited by some combination of disposition and circumstance. For this reason I am not sure that such lists (a bit like some job descriptions) are not a rather simplistic approach to ‘quantifying’ what constitutes a good Project Manager which might be more fruitfully assessed ‘qualitatively’?



    These characteristics come from various other pieces of research compiled by B & N in 2011 but dating back to 1976 – around the time of Abigail’s Party, in fact – so there are some duplicates but I have just reproduced the list here.

    I agree “Aggressiveness” is not a characteristics that we would promote in the 21st century and, in fact, this trait comes from a 1976 paper by Archibald so I’m sure the thinking was very different then.

    I remember attending a course at the start of my career called “Assertiveness Training for Women” where we were taught the difference between aggressiveness and assertiveness and the disadvantages and advantages of both (respectively, obviously).

    I actually find the list quite amusing as it’s an almost unattainable target for anyone to achieve – we are only human after all.

    Maybe we should compile a new list but it wouldn’t be based on any concrete research…

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.