Attributes that make a Project Manager successful?

According to this article, successful project managers are those who can deliver their projects on time, within budget, meet or exceed the stakeholders’ expectations and who can successfully supervise the project. These kinds of managers know how to bring together all the stakeholders in the project, and lead the team to meet its goals. In addition, they know that leadership and people skills are an important attribute. If the project manager doesn’t understand the stakeholders, even if they deliver within budget they may not be meeting their client’s needs. Below are a list of attributes the author suggests a project manager should have in order to be successful.

1. Set a Clear Vision
Project managers should have a clear vision of the direction they are heading; commit to this vision and find ways of achieving it.

2. Be Organized
Organization is an important characteristic of a great project manager. He/she needs to prioritize the work for their team, stay focused on the big picture, and stay in control of the project at all times.

3. Be Honest and Reliable
Project managers should mean what they say; fulfill their promises, and hold team members accountable. By doing so, the team will respect the manager’s integrity.

4. Become a Natural Leader
Project managers should be optimistic leaders who are highly valued by their company. They should have the ability to influence and interact with stakeholders, and the ability to improve their team’s performance by encouraging participation so they can reach their milestones.

5. Be a Good Communicator
The project manager should have a clear vision of the project before they communicate so they can explain it in a simple way and it can be understood. They should be able to listen to the client, and prepare a plan to achieve their goals. He/she can use emails, reports, and meetings to effectively share their ideas, make decisions and bring resolution.

6. Understand Business Strategy
A project manager should understand their company’s strategy, and see how his/her project aligns with the overall strategy. He/she should be able to look beyond the skills needed to manage projects and understand the company’s business.

7. Be Pragmatic
A project manager should be flexible, and be able to meet deadlines and budgets when things do not go as planned. They should share their experience with others on how they were able to overcome obstacles with the resources they had.

8. Have Enthusiasm
The project manager should demonstrate confidence in their team, and provide an encouraging environment. He/she should trust their team, and provide the support necessary for them to succeed.

9. Be Empathetic
A good project manager needs to understand the stakeholders concerns about a project and address them. By understanding what motivates their stakeholders they will be able to influence others to complete the job.

The author states several attributes of a good project manager. Are there any additional attributes you feel a project manager should have?



4 thoughts on “Attributes that make a Project Manager successful?

  1. Doug, your post ties in nicely with Natasha’s post about people skills. Both of your posts highlight the importance of a project manager’s interactions with peers. A project manager is the leader of teams that are managing complex initiatives. Without being respected, approachable, and rational, these efforts would fail.

    I think it’s important that a project manager also be able to multitask, which ties in with being organized. As a project manager, they must stay up to date on many concurrent activities and with each team member.

    Creativity could be an asset as well. Project managers may have to come up with alternative options or solutions to roadblocks. Creativity will enable them to look outside of the box.

    Lastly, the project manager must be able to prioritize. They will receive multiple requests for adjustments, increased budgets, not to mention emails and phone calls. In order to maintain productive project days, they should be able to focus on what is most important, without getting bogged down by tedious tasks.

  2. Great article Doug, thank you for sharing. An additional attribute I can add to the author’s list is to be consistent. I have worked for some managers with very inconsistent expectations and rules. There’s a different answer for every day of the week and no one really knows how they should be completing their tasks. It leads to a frustrating work environment and distrust between the employee and the manager. I wonder if I get a different guidance depending on her current mood or if she’s not sure herself. Either way, it’s ineffective and quite annoying. Great read, again.

  3. Hi Doug,

    Fantastic article and thank you for sharing! This list is certainly comprehensive and clearly articulates the various components and traits to underscore successful project management performances. I think the toughest part is ensuring that as a manager or project manager, you’re constantly trying to be mindful of and continuously improve within any of these traits. It’s probably unlikely that you can perfectly execute in each area, but the awareness and desire alone can go a long way.

  4. Hi Doug,

    You mentioned all the skills needed for a successful PM. As long as the PM strives to reach them, they’re in good shape of leading an effective team. In my experience, it can be pretty clear when a PM is not connecting with their team in the first couple of meetings. Thats when the PM needs to step back and evaluate how theyre handling their approach to the situation and what they can do to make it better.

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