The Top Five Qualities to Look for in a Good Project Manager
As a project manager, you may hear many times, “A good project manager is … one that delivers a project on time and within budget” or “…one that meets or exceeds the stakeholder’s expectations.” However, being a project manager is actually about much more than only focusing on those traits.
In my years of working with project managers, and eventually becoming a project manager myself, there are clearly defined characteristics that some of the best project managers have in common. By looking at these, it becomes clear that a good project manager would have these qualities to prosper.
- Encourage Participation through Leadership – A project manager commands authority naturally by being an optimistic leader who is viewed in a favorable light and valued by the team. Most of the project team will not work for you. This makes it important that you are good at managing in a matrixed environment. A good project manager leads by inspiring others, setting a vision, leading effectively, and demanding commitment to and demonstration of ethical practices.
- Keep an Open Line of Communication – The ability to communicate at all levels within a project team is important while being clear about goals, responsibilities, performance, expectations, and feedback. Project managers should have the ability to effectively negotiate and use persuasion when necessary to ensure the success of the team and of the project. By continually communicating with clarity, completely and consciously, a project manager should have full transparency into a project.
- Be a Task Manager and Risk Averter – Project Mangers create lists, delegate work to others, and stay on top of their progress. They should know their teams’ strengths, as well as their current workloads, in order to delegate properly. The best project managers are three steps ahead and three days into the future and anticipate things that may go wrong and how to change paths to avoid risks, or at least divert as much risk as it is within their power to do so. One key factor to remember as a project manager is that you cannot do everything yourself.
- Be Enthusiastic – Being enthusiastic not only about your work but the project(s) you are working on is another key attribute found in some of the best project managers. Enthusiasm is contagious and having the ‘can-do attitude’ goes a long way in exciting others on the project. When a project leader is confident and enthusiastic every team member starts sharing the project managers’ expectations as well. A positive approach and enthusiastic attitude leads the team to believe that things are much easier and quite solvable.
- See the Big Picture – An effective project manager is a visionary. As a visionary, a good project manager helps people feel they have a real stake in the project. They have the ability to see the big picture and not lose sight of it throughout the project lifecycle. Some additional attributes in being a visionary is: breaking down larger goals into smaller defined goals and focusing on the necessary detail without becoming bogged down with smaller, irrelevant issues. Visionaries thrive on change and are willing to draw new boundaries, as needed.
Good project managers are not just good planners, they are good leaders.
Check out some of our other blogs on Project Management:
Managing the Project Management Triangle on an Agile Project
Clarity on the Role of Microsoft Dynamics NAV Project Managers
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