Project managers are a vital part of any successful organization. The best ones not only see through a project to its final completion, but have the ability to do so without exceeding the budget.
Because projects are temporary in nature, those who are tasked to complete it must possess skills that often differ from those who handle typical day to day operations or those who perform the same activities day in and day out. Whoever is at the helm of a project has to ensure that the team remains motivated and committed to completing the project at hand.
Here are the traits that an effective project manager needs to accomplish an assigned task with flying colors.
1. Excellent communicator
Dr. Greg Thomas, CMC, PMP and CEO of consulting firm Roos Technologies International, sums up this trait perfectly: “Being an outstanding communicator requires the project manager to consistently ensure they are clearly understood by all stakeholders; that all stakeholders understand what is expected of them throughout the project lifecycle; and that all stakeholders communicate effectively with one another as well as with the project manager.”
But being an outstanding communicator also goes beyond that. An effective project manager must have the ability to communicate in a way that builds consensus and inspires confidence, which means that they should also have leadership skills.
2. Being in charge and motivating others
Brian Lee, a partner at consulting firm Navigate, elaborates on this point by saying, “Effective project managers paint a picture of a better tomorrow and inspire confidence in their team’s abilities to realize that vision.”
To do this well, a project manager must have leadership skills. A study conducted by a project management certification company Velocitech revealed that the top 2% of project managers command authority naturally, which means that these individuals exude confidence, hold stakeholders accountable, and are considered as a valuable part of their respective organizations.
3. Possess a keen understanding of the big picture
While a project is temporary in nature, an effective project manager must have the ability to understand the overall business strategy and see how their assigned tasks fit into the big picture. Violet Graber, an HR senior director at Alcatel Lucent, says, “The more context that project managers have, the more value they have to that company. If project management applicants can expand the description [of their project management work] into a business context, that will serve them extremely well.”
Challenges will always be a part of any project, and while meeting obstacles are unavoidable, effective project managers are expected to still complete the project and stay within a given budget despite any setbacks. According to Wade Kranz, PMP and senior project manager at Bell Canada, project managers applicants should see to it that they can articulate these strengths during interviews:
“They should share their real history: What were the obstacles and how did they overcome them? What project management tools and soft skills did they use?” he says. “There are always changes. You have to be pretty flexible as project managers. If I’m looking at a project manager, one of the most important traits is listening to the client and in some ways, outperforming their expectations.”
The most effective project managers are able to stay on track and remain within budget. If you want to improve your skills and find mentors who can guide you toward achieving an assigned task efficiently, consider enrolling in a Project Management training course from a reputable provider. There’s always something new to learn and new people to connect with in today’s fast moving business environment, and staying updated will ensure that you remain competitive and relevant in the face of rapid change.