It is a unique type of person that excels as a project manager or in another similar high-stress position. These types of people love all the nuances and subtleties involved in their projects and they love seeing everything come together.
Good project managers are closet DIY junkies who get their fix by helping others become more organized, structured, capable, and successful, regardless of the condition that the project may be in.
But, what are the specific qualities of a successful project manager?
The following list will help you gain some clarity:
Team building. This one is pretty self-explanatory. After all, we’ve all heard the famous saying, “There’s no ‘I’ in team.” A career in project management will require you to work with a team and allow you to delegate the tasks according to their capabilities in order to finish a project.
Planning. Preparation is always key and thus it’s essential that you give both you and your clients ample time every week to take care of projects, provide feedback, etc. Doing so will ensure that you have the time needed to meet deadlines so you won’t have to play catch up. Staying up late at night and not getting enough sleep will affect your work performance and may even cost you your job. Every week, take time out to gather your thoughts and think through your plans for the next couple of weeks.
Acute awareness. A good product manager always has their eye on the ball i.e. they ensure that they are always up-to-date on each project’s progress; whether their team is working on multiple projects or just one. Focus is vital and staying on top of everything is the name of the game, no matter if it’s in reference to task and reporting, timelines, risks – everything needs both motivation and follow-up feedback.
Communication. Good communication skills are a trait of the successful, regardless of their position. As a project manager, you must have the ability to convey, sometimes in more than one language (e.g. oral, physical, and written) what is necessary to complete a task. No matter if it’s in a team environment, a small group, or at the executive level, a good project manager resonates confidence and understanding of the project as well as any issues or concerns associated with it.
Discipline. Although there are books, apps, and other self-help tools that are designed to help you become more disciplined, at the end of the day the responsibility to follow thru lies squarely on your shoulders. Setting time limits, staying on top of details, following through, and maintaining a can-do attitude are essential to successful project management.
Assertiveness. A good product manager is comfortable asking the hard questions no matter if is discussing a missed deadline, the budget, or an unprofessional colleague or customer.
Finally, we must also shine light on a trait that is not on the above list but, nevertheless must be mentioned – especially since it’s often underutilized. What are we talking about? The ability to ask for help when needed, of course. The best project managers understand that no man is an island and that in order to deliver the best product, others must be involved. After learning this lesson, you may still not be perfect, but you’ll certainly be close to it.