A project manager is someone tasked with leading and executing projects for a business or an organisation. As the project manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure that all projects are completed and delivered within time. You’ll need to create a budget and manage costs through the period of the project.
You’ll also need to delegate tasks to team members that are most suited to those tasks. By ensuring that all team members are working together and know what to do, you can create a productive work atmosphere. As the project manager, there are specific vital skills that are essential to your success.
Skills that can help a project manager find success
Project managers need to have solid and soft skills to deal with their projects successfully. You’ll need to understand how to communicate effectively, delegate responsibly, and adapt to changing circumstances, should you need to.
Here are the five critical skills that a project manager needs to succeed:
Strong leadership skills are the foundations on which you’ll build your success as a project manager. To be a strong leader, you’ll need to know how to communicate your thoughts calmly and patiently. You’ll need to ensure that all the teams under you know what they are doing. It is also your responsibility to assign tasks to your team members while considering who is best suited to the role.
At your best, you’ll be able to match different tasks with people who can comfortably complete them. This can help increase efficiency and productivity in the workplace. Project managers should also have a positive attitude when it comes to solving problems. Since your team members will be looking to you for guidance, you need to present a calm and confident front before them.
This is especially important during times of uncertainty, or should you be facing risk factors while executing your project. A good project manager always considers potential risk factors and creates mitigation plans for them before they happen.
Project managers need to lead teams from different departments and unite them to ensure that the project is being executed properly. This means that while two groups may be working on other parts of the project, you’ll be in charge of bringing the project together and ensuring its timely execution.
1. Communication skills
As a project manager, your communication skills will be the most essential soft skills you have. You’ll need to know how to communicate your thoughts clearly and concisely to all your team members. You’ll also need to share the status of your project to all stakeholders, such as superior management.
Your communication skills will go together with your leadership skills to help you build your career. When you’re communicating with different teams, you need to relay their role in the project. At the same time, consider motivating them by understanding the importance of their role in the project.
The communication skills of a project manager should aim to boost productivity and efficiency in the workplace. To achieve that, you’ll need to clearly inform your team members of what you expect from them. You’ll need to be careful and considerate of the words that you choose, as well as your overall tone. Your body language should also be open and inviting, as you need to create available channels of communication with your team members.
You should be able to understand the project in detail and then communicate what the different tasks are to your team members. Your instructions should be clear, and your team members should feel free to ask you about their work, if necessary. Empathy and sensitivity in your speech can also help you develop valuable relationships among your team members. This can, in turn, help you increase productivity and efficiency at work.
2. Understanding organisational structure
Project managers need to understand the organisational structure of the business they are working with. This is important as different firms can have other organisational structures and require different things from you. If the organisational structure of a business changes, then your responsibilities as a project manager changes as well.
Take, for example, a business with a functional organisational structure. In this case, project managers need to understand that there’s a traditional hierarchy in the industry, where the senior executives hold a more significant deal of responsibility. This is because it ultimately becomes the responsibility of senior executives to ensure that the project is completed on time and is of the expected quality.
However, a greater degree of responsibility will be placed on your shoulders if you are working for a business with a project-based organisational structure. This is because, in project-based organisational structures, the project managers hold responsibility for the timely execution of the project. That’s why in project-based organisational structures, project managers have greater overall responsibility.
This means that project managers should clearly understand the current chain of command, as well as their responsibility when it comes to the final deliverables.
3. Time management skills
Project managers should have strong time management skills and successfully complete projects within the specified period of time. They need to avoid procrastination and minimise distractions within the workplace. This is in order to increase productivity at work.
Project managers also need to be capable of dealing with changes, especially unexpected factors, during the course of the project. Should there be a need to adapt, then project managers should recognise this need and help team members pivot in the right direction.
It’s also the responsibility of a project manager to ensure that there is adequate trust among team members, to ensure that the project is delivered on time.
4. Problem-solving skills
A good project manager is also good at solving problems. However, project managers are expected to follow a framework when it comes to solving problems.
It would be best if you considered being proactive when it comes to looking for problems and then finding mitigation measures against them. You should also be able to recognise and define problems and then communicate what those problems are to all stakeholders.
It’s your responsibility as the project manager to analyse and pore over variables that can pose problems for the project. You’ll need to develop an awareness of all the possible solutions to the problem and then pick the most effective solution. You’re also expected to analyse your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to solving problems and recognise what you can do to improve them.
Project managers play an essential role in ensuring that teams can deliver projects in a timely and efficient manner. If you focus on developing these five soft skills, then you can more easily find success as a project manager.
Project managers need to recognise risks, and that means that you should also identify risks when it comes to your career. One way to protect yourself against common career risks is with the help of professional indemnity insurance. If you want to learn more about PI insurance or compare professional indemnity insurance rates, then click here.