A Look at the Qualities of a Good Project Manager

Are you considering moving into a project manager position? While not technically a “career” in the traditional sense (you won’t find project manager listed the same way you’ll find CPAs or airline pilots), it is seeing a growing demand from businesses of all sizes and within all industries. Project managers handle all types of projects, from large IT installations to manufacturing and production test runs. If you’re interested in this type of position, it’s a good idea to know if you’re the right fit. To help you make that determination, here are some of the more important qualities a PM needs to have in order to be successful.
1. A Good Leader
A project manager must be a leader – you don’t need to be a “natural-born” leader, but you need to have learned leadership skills and be comfortable exercising your authority. You’ll be ultimately responsible for your team members (and the success or failure of your project), so being able to lead is a vital consideration.
2. Ability to Listen to Others
During your projects, you’ll have to listen to a variety of different people, and you’ll need to be able to retain the information they give you. From stakeholders to managers and individual team members (not to mention suppliers, and others you’ll have to interact with), having good listening skills is vital.
3. Communication Skills
The note above about listening ties directly into this one – you must have good communication skills. If you’re not able to communicate effectively with a broad range of people (from senior management to those who answer to you), you’ll find that you are not able to achieve your goals. Quality communication at all times and on all levels is one of the cornerstones on which successful projects are built.
4. Education and Training
Again, while project management is not really a specific field, there are education and training programs out there that can provide you with the foundation you’ll need in various project management techniques and processes to help ensure that you have what you need to be successful. PMI is the most recognizable and longstanding such institution, but there are many others out there that can also help you get the education you need. Make sure that the education program you choose has a good reputation in the industry, and has a high success rate with graduating students landing PM jobs right off the bat.
5. Ability to Stick to a Schedule
As a project manager, time will be of the essence. You’ll have a schedule for project completion that must be adhered to. You must be able to stick to a schedule, which means that you need to not only have good time tracking skills, but be able to look for potential problems and hurdles down the road that might derail your progress.
These are just a few of the important qualities a project manager needs. With the right skills and mindset, you can enjoy a rewarding experience as a PM.

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