Project managers are the lynchpins of our industry. So, what does it take to be an effective project manager? Below, we have highlighted what we consider are 10 key traits:
Inspiring a shared vision
An effective project manager will always share the vision of trying to do the best they can for clients. Furthermore, they will ensure their colleagues buy into this vision and the vital role they play in helping achieve it.
Creating and living by good ethical standards is vital if a project manager wants to be effective, because it sets the example for the rest of their team and allows them to earn trust with clients. It’s not words, but actions that demonstrates a project manager ‘walks the talk’. If project managers are motivated by self-interest, the rest of their colleagues will suffer, as will clients. Being honest, having integrity and showing humility is a crucial part of being an effective project manager.
An excellent communicator
Leading a team, project or role, calls for clear communication explaining where the project is headed, what expectations are required, how everyone is performing and most importantly, the responsibilities and goals of each member. Without clear communication, there is a lack of leadership and without leadership, team members are left with no direction, which ultimately leads to self–interpretation and the downfall of the project.
Competency is commonly mistaken as just technical ability. Whilst technical ability is extremely important, it is imperative to have strong leadership skills. The ability to challenge, encourage, enable, inspire and mentor must be demonstrated if leaders are to be seen as capable and competent.
When embarking on a change programme, in a perfect world, it would be delivered on time, within budget and with no obstacles to overcome. However, in reality, there are always barriers to success. That’s why programmes of this nature are always so challenging and require specific expertise. Moreover, it is how effective project managers deal with these issues that sets them apart from the crowd. The ability to remain focused and unflappable when problems arise, so solutions can quickly be found, is essential.
Your attitude and how you present yourself to clients and colleagues will always leave a lasting impression. Understand that everyone has a life outside of work and certain things may impact an individual’s performance/focus on a project at times. It is vital to be empathetic. However, on the flip side, it is just as important to recognise when people are using something as an excuse to mask their inability to fulfil a role because they do not have the right capability/skill-set.
Team building skills
An effective project manager must possess strong team building skills in order to ensure he/she can bring together a group of individuals into one cohesive unit to achieve the necessary objectives. He or she must also know and adopt the appropriate leadership style as the team develops. They must also have an appreciation for the different styles and strengths each of the team possesses, in order to get the most from their team.
Ability to delegate tasks
Delegating tasks, shows that you trust your team with a certain level of responsibility. Those project managers who are unable to trust others, often fail as leaders, because they end up micromanaging or carrying out the work themselves.
We all enjoy working with those who are positive and have a can-do attitude. An enthusiastic project manager inspires others and themselves to ensure goals are achieved and success is enjoyed by all.
All effective project managers should have a creative and fresh approach to problem-solving. They must have the ability to identify issues, and obstacles, and the various options available, to select the most appropriate solution.