15 Key Skills A Project Manager Needs To Succeed

Project Manager

A project manager’s role is quite a challenging one. Besides basic managerial skills, a project manager needs many other competencies. 

Unlike a general manager, a project manager has to deal with team members working remotely from different sites. A project manager is constantly pressed for timely completion of assignments and meeting customers’ requirements. He needs to make prompt decisions and solve dynamic problems.

Undoubtedly, this role demands individuals with technical expertise and a great strength of character. To be called a successful project manager, one has to truly prove his worth. 

Let’s elaborate on the 15 key skills that can qualify any project manager as successful. 

1. Leadership

Without strong leadership, a team is prone to failure. When we talk about a project manager’s leadership skills, we mean his ability to motivate a diverse group of members to strive for the project goals. A good leader can effortlessly coordinate the efforts of his team members for the successful completion of a project.

2. Communication

A project manager needs very good communication and interpersonal skills. He needs to interact effectively with the team members as well as project stakeholders. He needs excellent speaking and writing skills. He needs to ensure that the instructions are clearly understood and that the feedback is well received. Most importantly, he must be able to convey his ideas well in any setting, be it addressing the group in a meeting or in one-on-one discussions.

3. Risk Management

A project’s journey to completion is often obstructed by risks and challenges. While most risks are best avoided, leading a project for innovation requires taking risks. A project manager should be able to foresee challenges and be able to take calculated risks. Risk management involves identifying risks and taking the steps to mitigate them. 

4. Empathy

When the project manager leads his team through challenging projects, he needs to be empathetic too. He should be a patient listener and ready to clear the doubts of team members. He should also be compassionate about the personal needs of his teammates.

5. Negotiation

A project manager needs to actively negotiate with vendors, suppliers and contractors. He also needs to settle terms and conditions with clients and stakeholders. Good negotiation skills can help project managers to positively influence outcomes.

6. Solution-Oriented

A project manager should always have a positive attitude towards challenges. He should actively seek solutions to problems. He should objectively and critically evaluate every situation. He needs to be aware of the pros and cons of his decisions and perform the balancing act to arrive at the best solution. 

7. Adaptability

Business environment is continuously changing and evolving. Accordingly, a project manager should also be adaptable and open to learn new skills. He should be willing to upskill his technical knowledge and be aware of the latest industry trends. Adaptability also means that the project manager is ready to deal with unforeseen circumstances and bend his plans accordingly.

8. Cost-Management

Clients expect the project manager to control the project budget. The project manager must be skilled at evaluating the costs involved in the project and curtail unnecessary expenditures. He should be able to allocate resources effectively and manage expenses responsibly.

9. Conflict Resolution

A project team comprises several individuals with all types of personality traits. In the long-run personal and professional conflicts are bound to arise. Besides, conflicts may also crop up while dealing with clients and vendors. A good project manager strives to maintain harmony and can handle internal and external conflicts well.

10. Planning And Scheduling

Proper planning is the key to a project’s success. The responsibility of drawing the project plan lies with the project manager. The project manager should be able to chart out clear goals for the team. He should also lay out the timelines for project completion. He should also fix the schedules for all client deliverables. 

11. Ease With Technology  

Technology plays a dominant role in influencing an organization’s productivity. Being adept in the latest software and tools for managing projects is an absolute necessity for project managers. Knowing how to operate a software like Smart Suite, can simplify and expedite the process of creating workflows and assigning tasks. 

12. Data And Trend Analysis

Data Analysis is amongst the most sought after skills for managerial professionals. With an eye for detail and the ability to analyze complex data, a project manager can monitor the project’s progress and make important predictions. Data analysis involves processing large numbers and interpreting results to draw useful insights.

13. Work Ethics

A good project manager should have strong work ethics. He should be able to focus on important tasks and establish a healthy work culture in the team. He should ensure that there are minimum distractions. He should encourage the team members to deliver their peak performance.

14. Organizational Skills

Good organizational skills are important for both personal and professional success. A project manager can focus on multiple tasks only when he possesses exceptional organizational skills. He can deal with streams of incoming information and prioritize which items need urgent attention. 

15. Patience

A project manager may achieve success after stumbling through many big and small failures. It is natural to get frustrated when things don’t work out as planned. It is not easy to deal with conflicts either. Patience is a virtue that can help a project manager stay positive and persistent in his endeavors.

Closing Thoughts

It is easy for us to list these skills on a page, but imbibing the skills in one’s character can take a lot of time and practice. It’s never too late to take the path of self improvement. You can start practicing these important skills in your profession and pave your way to success.