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Top 7 Qualities of an Effective Project Manager

effective project manager

Let’s face it. Amidst the glory of efficiently completed projects, beaming faces of your team members in times of success and feeling a sense of achievement in their chosen field, the life of a project manager is not easy.

Every project manager has a lot on their plate – keeping clients happy, teams motivated and helping organizations sustain their competitive advantage.

Unfortunately, study shows that despite all this hard work and hard learning managers come across on a daily level, they are held responsible for teams – primarily when it comes to their job satisfaction and motivation.

Rising statistics of job churn and missed project deadlines or failed projects altogether get to be associated with the capabilities of the project manager concerned. Where this may seem a tad bit unfair, it stays true that project managers do have a major influence on the outcomes of teams and projects alike.

The truth is not everyone can be made happy and not all events will turn out perfect. So what is it that a project manager can work on to optimize the effects of their interaction with teams and organizations?

If you are a project manager looking for that perfect magic wand – or something similar – to gain more control of your professional life, well, you’re in luck. We may have run out of our special chants but maybe this list of top 7 qualities an effective project manager should encompass can save your day – and many more to come. Let’s begin!

1. Communication

We all understand the importance of communication. Yet, most of us are not able to communicate as effectively as we would like. Especially in professional environments, it is a tough task especially to convey implementation of corrective measures or informing the concerned personnel that can be remotely negative. This has been proven by research as well.

A study by Interact was carried out comprising with 2,058 U.S. adults out of which 616 of people worked as managers. 69% of these managers claimed to be uncomfortable communicating with employees.

Plus, more than one-third of the managers i.e. 37% felt discomfort in direct feedback regarding the performance of their employees if they feared the concerned employees would respond negatively.

Regardless of the situation, an effective project manager should try to find ways to confront employees in negative scenarios as well as give appreciative feedback on accomplishments and out-of-the-way efforts.

Did you know that the Project Management Institute (PMI) terms efficient communication as the life-blood of a project?

See also:

The 5 Best Productivity Books to Unleash Your Absolute Best

2. Enthusiasm

If you are especially a project manager that has experience working with numerous projects and associated professionals, it is only but natural to take over a more subtle outlook than an enthusiastic approach to the projects at hand. Usually, project managers new to the arena seem to be enthusiastic due to hunger for self-actualization and professional growth.

However, as the proverb goes, “enthusiasm is contagious”. The attitude you exhibit in your personal life and at work is bound to be taken up by potential followers. An effective project manager understands this concept and shows how to lead projects with zeal and enthusiasm.

According to Dale Carnegie, “Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.”

Joey Little is the Executive Director of Digital Strategist for AutoAlert.

In his article about keeping employees engaged, Joey writes states that some of the things an effective project manager can do to keep employees engaged and excited include interacting with everyone, building in time for fun, and managing employees effectively by allowing employees to grow, being a good listener and giving employees a voice, and recognizing employees for their work.

3. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

Where would the world be without empathy? This trait of being able to put yourself in other’s shoes to understand their perspectives and issues is a rare find. In order to be an effective project manager, you need to connect with employees and clients on a human level.

This can help you understand how to improvise a project and the practical implications of your behavior on the team, client and the project lifecycle.

Did you know that according to a report by Udemy, 50 percent employees have claimed to have quit a job because of a bad manager, 56% are of the opinion that managers are promoted prematurely and 60% believe that managers need managerial training?

Todd Zeigler is the chief strategist of the Brick Factory and has about 16 years of experience. In his blog post, Todd states that to be able to put yourself in the client’s shoes is just as significant as being efficient.

He adds that often, the difference between a great project manager and one that is merely good lies in empathy.

Anthony Mersino, PMP and author of “Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers,” addresses the importance of this trait by stating that to be an effective project manager, one needs to be able to implement projects and work well with teams and emotional intelligence helps achieve exactly that.

4. Delegation

One of the traits of being a manager is being able to delegate tasks to teams without micromanagement. Delegating tasks is an art.

In order to be an effective project manager, you need to know who encompasses the skills for which job in order to have a better task-to-employee fit for the job.

According to Birkinshaw and Cohen, knowledge workers spend 41 percent of their time working on tasks that can be effectively delegated to others.

In a conference paper, Tom Cooper presents the 30 percent solution in his article regarding the importance of work delegation. According to Tom, project managers need to develop more effective methods of delegating tasks instead of just assigning tickets or sending out emails.

See also:

The 21 Best Project Management Blogs to Follow in 2018

5. Composure

As with any life situation, things can hit the iceberg without much warning beforehand. It is natural to feel panicked in the face of turmoil especially with the client, teams, and organization relying on your expertise as a project manager.

Projects are meant to go off track, clients tend to ask for last minute changes and teams can often lag behind due to imbalanced workload. In fact, a study shows that about 70 percent of projects fail.

Plus, according to Mckinsey & Company, 17 percent of IT projects go so badly, they threaten the existence of the company.

However, the show must go on, right? In order to pass the storm, an effective project manager needs to practice composure to be able to think with a clear head when there is chaos all around.

Entrepreneur and founder of Glenn Llopis Group, Glenn Llopis offers 7 ways leaders can maintain composure during difficult times.

6. Self-organization

Being organized has to be one of the top traits of an effective project manager. In order to juggle between deadlines, potential clients and improving existing work patterns, you need to be able to do more in less time.

An effective project manager understands the need to be able to balance the different elements of project management including time, scope, budget, and quality of the deliverables. This requires being able to prioritize your work and be clear on your goal setting.

Did you know that as per Forbes study, a typical executive today wastes six weeks a year while searching for lost items and information?

Some of the ways to keep on top of your game is to invest in an efficient project management tool, keep meetings effective, use a productivity app, and most of all, promote team bonding and collaboration for a result-oriented approach leading to successful project delivery.

7. Adherence to Ethics

No matter how skilled and experienced you are as a project manager, if you don’t focus on staying ethical or forego basic acts portraying an ethical behavior, you may be compromising one of the pivotal traits of an effective project manager.

Project management is all about decision making – decisions that involve people (teams and clients), resources and investments. Every hour, you may be subjected to take difficult decisions that put you on the spot to decide between personal accomplishments, rewards from organizations or the long-term benefits for the people and institutions involved.

According to Amany Nuseibeh, a PMP, and member of the PMI Ethics Member Advisory Group, “As we lead our teams and projects, we need to be aware of the ethical issues, embed ethical and professional practices, use ethical decision-making frameworks and engage in respectful discussions taking different perspectives into consideration.”

What traits or characteristic would you like to see in your project manager? What do you think is absolutely crucial for an effective project manager and leader?

Share your ideas, stories, and thoughts in the comments below.

See also:

Top 10 Project Managers to Follow on Twitter in 2018


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