If your goal is to be an effective project manager, you need a specific combination of skills. While many professionals focus on the technical parts of the job, especially when the projects relate to IT, there are numerous other soft skills which are just as important, if not more so, to your overall success.
Whether you are just starting out in the field or looking to move forward in your career, here is some insight into what it takes to be an exceptional project manager.
When it comes down to it, a project manager must be able to function as a leader within the team. They are directly responsible for coordinating everyone’s efforts and ensuring all the players are staying on target. Often, project teams are diverse, so being able to work with a wide range of professionals is imperative. Additionally, being able to manage internal conflicts and make critical decisions is also a large part of the role, and are often considered marks of a true leader.
No project runs smoothly from beginning to end. Regardless of your level of planning or the cumulative effort of the team, tough times are bound to happen. While a short-term issue isn’t likely to have a significant negative impact on morale, long-term problems or repeatedly running into roadblocks will. A skilled project manager needs to know how to motivate their team to keep pushing even when the chips are down.
Through the use of motivation, you can ensure that everyone continues to perform at their best. Keeping your team in the right mindset is the key to bringing your project to fruition, so the ability to motivate should be considered a must-have skill that is worth developing.
Project managers need to be competent communicators. Not only do they need to relay information to the team, but they also have to discuss potential complex topics with people who aren’t as well versed in the subject matter, like leaders in other departments or various stakeholders. Additionally, they have to be able to build and maintain crucial relationships throughout the duration of the project, a task that often requires a significant amount of tact as well as subject-matter expertise.
With the wide variety of communication platforms and the frequent use of meetings, project managers must be skilled at both written and spoken communication. This also entails being an active listener, as you must often gather input from multiple people before making decisions.
Since project managers provide a large amount of oversight and monitor the activities of many team members simultaneously, being able to prioritize the incoming information is a necessity. If you dedicate yourself to every detail or potential distraction, you won’t be able to focus on the tasks that need your immediate attention. Being able to separate the critical from the noncritical and adapt to changing priorities is a must. Otherwise, you may find yourself being overwhelmed by the demands of the position, or falling behind because you didn’t concentrate on the most essential activities.
As you can see, there is more to being a successful project manager than just technical prowess, so working to ensure you possess the right soft skills is vital for getting ahead. If you are a project manager looking for a new position, the professionals at The Squires Group can help you manage the task of finding a job. Contact us to see how our process can work for you.