Just beginning my career in project management, I wanted to discover some of the ‘must have’ skills and qualities that the industry requires. After reading “Top 10 Leadership Qualities of a Project Manager,” I agree with majority of the qualities chosen, but not exactly with the rank order or the written descriptions. However, Barry and ESI International, a leader in project management training, have agreed upon the following ten characteristics in rank order.
- Inspires a Shared Vision
- A Good Communicator
- Ability to Delegate Tasks
- Cool Under Pressure
- Team Building Skills
- Problem Solving Skills
While the article supposedly addresses project management, I strongly believe that the above list could describe the Top 10 Leadership Qualities for all Leaders. Honestly, I was surprised that there was not much, if any, content specifically geared towards project management. In an industry where there are countless business professionals specialized in project management, I would have imagined more informative and eye opening content would have been included in the article. The biggest surprise to me was that Barry and ESI International are basically saying that any good leader would be a good project manager and while that could be true, I am not quite sold on that idea.
In order to enhance the Top 10 list to better accommodate project managers, I feel it is necessary to amend the description for #6 Competency. I believe competency is a major factor in successfully project management, but the description does not illustrate the full importance of it. The competency description reads:
“We must believe that that person knows what he or she is doing. Leadership competence does not however necessarily refer to the project leader’s technical abilities in the core technology of the business. As project management continues to be recognized as a field in and of itself, project leaders will be chosen based on their ability to successfully lead others rather than on technical expertise, as in the past. Having a winning track record is the surest way to be considered competent. Expertise in leadership skills is another dimension in competence. The ability to challenge, inspire, enable, model and encourage must be demonstrated if leaders are to be seen as capable and competent.”
Yes, it is highly important for team members to know that their project manager knows what he or she is doing. But if a project manager is simply a good leader and has not mastered the core technical abilities of the business, no team member will want to follow them. An incompetent project manager with the necessary skill set but a good leader could be successful if they have other team members who are experts on the core business abilities; however, team members will be less inclined to follow someone who does not have the full knowledge or skill set.
Please feel free to share your opinion about what is right or wrong about the list, what is out of place, and what might be missing.
Barry, Timothy. Top 10 Leadership Qualities of a Project Manager. Project Times. Published May 16, 2012. http://www.projecttimes.com/articles/top-10-leadership-qualities-of-a-project-manager.html