TRAITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PROJECT MANAGERS

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A Project Manager’s power is the ability to plan effectively and execute projects within scope, budget, and an excellent time to meet the client’s requirements. Effectively applying project management tools and techniques to deliver projects is another dimension that enhances the Project Manager’s propensity for success.  

Beyond delivery, successful project managers exhibit another core skill; Leadership. The ability to be a leader that is accountable, able to motivate, and inspire team members as well as being fully vested in organizational success is one that converts ‘good’ project managers into ‘great’ transformation advisors. 

Combining the ability to do with the ability to lead is a critical recipe for advancing in the project management path. Below we discuss four key attributes to invest in to achieve this.  


Communication 

Communication as a project leader is an intrinsically vital skill to have. Project leadership is all about leveraging the ability to persuade others. Negotiate for time and resources; manage expectations in a way that is mindful of the different needs and wants. 

The ability to utilize communication styles at different levels, ‘high level’ for senior leaders, or ‘detail-oriented’ for business users, sets the tone for the mode of engagement between the project leader, their stakeholders, and the delivery team. 
By mastering communication as a soft skill, project managers achieve project success, especially when acting as the crucial bridge between the team and the broader stakeholder landscape. 


Integrity and Accountability 

No project leader plans to fail in delivery, but even with the most diligent planning and execution, it’s almost impossible for everything to go as planned. Even the greatest amongst project managers are unable to prepare for every possible occurrence. 

However, when things do inevitably go wrong, the act of taking responsibility when things go wrong and learning from these improvement opportunities builds trust and respect from the stakeholder. 

Honor your commitment with integrity. 

Les Brown

Demonstration of good ethical practices and living by these practices –leading by example is a common trait of highly-effective and successful project managers. 


Encourage and Motivate Team Members.

Project success is a collective effort of the team and not just that of a project manager. A great project leader encourages those within their groups by acknowledging great work, championing, and encouraging participation, all while encouraging team members to give their best regardless of the potential outcome. 

Part of being an effective project manager may include identifying the strength of others and leveraging on that to motivate them as a team. Learning to appreciate every effort of your team members no matter how little they are, encourages active contribution from the team.  


Strategic Business Partner 

Strategic leadership is another trait of effective project management. Most projects require more than just the technical skills of applying project management tools and techniques to achieve project success. It is often easier for every project manager to manage expectations within their direct team or management – for example, internal risks such as conflicts between team members. 

The same may not be the case for those not part of the immediate team environment. Situations like this require strong leadership skills to drive the project to success while considering how it fits into the organization’s strategic and business goals.


Although we’ve touched on just a few leadership traits of highly effective project managers, we know that: effective communication, integrity and accountability, and strategic leadership are essential leadership skills. Great project managers who can successfully lead a team or project to success will exhibit all of these listed attributes.

About the author

Stanley Osuozah
By Stanley Osuozah

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