What are the essentials for becoming a good project manager?

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Although managing a project may sound easy, ensuring project success within the allotted time frame, budget and delivering the desired results make the task more difficult. These are just some of the things that project managers need to carry on their shoulders.

Although managing a project may sound easy, ensuring project success within the allotted time frame, budget and delivering the desired results make the task more difficult. These are just some of the things that project managers need to carry on their shoulders. Managing a project and making sure it is successful is challenging, sometimes even experienced project managers find it difficult to accomplish what is desired.

The corporate world is always on the lookout for certified project managers. Although individuals can easily get a certification to become qualified, this doesn’t always equate to immediate success in this particular field of business. Project management success relies heavily on the fundamental traits and skills that a project manager has.

So, what are the inherent and essential skills that a project must possess to become successful? Let us take a closer look at some of them.

Good communication skills. Good project managers are good communicators. They must have the exceptional ability to communicate with their team members. This is considered the most fundamental skill that every project manager should possess.

In order to succeed in a project, project managers should showcase their leadership skills by providing clear channels for communication by focusing on project goals, performance, expectations, responsibilities and feedback.

Leadership. A project manager must possess the right leadership skills. To become more effective, he must lead by example and keep the team members motivated. Although not every stage of every project is always smooth, the project manager must be willing to lead the team in the right direction and encourage the team members to be motivated enough to rise to the challenge and become project managers themselves in the future.

Integrity. We’ve all heard the maxim “actions speak louder than words.” This is also applicable in project management. Team members will always look to their leader when it comes to guidance and motivation so their actions will heavily influence the team’s manner of operation. This means showing good leadership skills by manifesting ethical practices and exceptional commitment to the project goals.

When a project manager is showing this kind of behaviour, the team members will automatically follow it. In order to remind team members to maintain this type of behaviour, the project manager should reward exemplary behaviour. This will improve the morale of the team and maintain their overall well-being as a functioning group.

Team management. Aside from being good leaders, project managers are expected to possess skills in managing a well-organised and highly-functioning team. In order to achieve all of the project goals, the project manager must be able to identify and assign tasks to the right team members, as well as set expectations for their completion. Whenever issues arise, as they always do, project managers must be able to find solutions to make sure that the project goals are achieved on time and within budget. Aside from that, project managers must be able to evaluate each team member, provide constructive feedback and help them improve their performance.

In order to delegate the right tasks to the right team members, there must be a healthy sense of trust between all individuals involved. This kind of trust often manifests in the actions of the project manager. For instance, if a project manager trusts all his team members, he will delegate the majority of the tasks to them and will not have a need to micromanage them. This is one way of letting team members showcase their skills, allowing them to fully participate in the project as well as improving their skills in the process. Leaders who are unable to fully trust their team members will find themselves often failing at the projects that are assigned to them, becoming a detriment to the company, themselves and to the team members.

Negotiation. This is another important skill that needs to be possessed. Every project involved a person with a vested interest, of which the client is the main stakeholder. Clients may come from within the company or outside the company and it is the duty of the project manager to negotiate terms that are suitable to all parties involved, taking into consideration the scope, budget and timeline in which it should be carried out. If project managers are good negotiators, they can come up with results that all parties will be truly satisfied with.

Empathy. This is a special skill that not all project managers have. It puts the project managers in a position wherein they can understand the feelings, emotion and ideas of other people aside from themselves. This involves a level of caring and understanding of all of the individuals that are part of the project, being grateful for their contribution and effort. Although not frequently showcased, this skill is likely to improve the morale of the team members throughout the project timeline.

Critical thinking. Good projects managers are good critical thinkers and this is a desirable skill that is essential in every endeavour. The justification is very obvious. Project managers are expected to make important decisions that will direct the flow of the project towards success. The credibility of these decisions is what will drive the project to its ultimate goal. Making one bad decision might have dire consequences along the way, which is why they need to fully comprehend every step and decision that the team needs to take. Every decision will take the project to success or ruin. That is how important this skill is.

Risk management. Any kind of endeavour always has risks involved but as long as the risks are kept to a healthy and tolerable level, the project can go on as planned and succeed. As we have discussed earlier, projects don’t always go as planned. Roadblocks or challenges may arise when it is most unexpected but a good project manager is always there to identify these stumbling blocks and help create solutions to address them.

As well as their project management certifications, a project manager must work hard to acquire some or all of the skills mentioned here. Each individual is different. Some may be exceptionally good at one skill and struggle with others but as long as they are willing to work toward improving themselves, they will eventually acquire all of these skills along with their career advancement.

If enabling change is part of your DNA, working with Provek for project management training, skills assessments and benchmarking, or for consultancy, might be the best decision you’ll ever make.

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