8 Leadership skills of a great Project Manager
In order to become a successful project manager, the leadership qualities are absolutely necessary. The primary focus of a project manager is to effectively lead the project, not the individuals completing it.
From my experience, I can say that leadership skills can make a difference between project managers, and if you improve your leadership ability, it will make you distinct from the others.
“Leadership is the attribute most lacking in project managers.” – Craig Stephens
Even though some people naturally own leadership qualities, there are some leadership skills that have to be developed over time. Below is my list of the ten leadership skills that will help you lead your projects and achieve your goals:
Taking into consideration that 90% of a project manager’s time is spent communicating with others, communication should be clear, specific and should include all the required details.
It is important for a project manager to be able to share the project vision, goals, plans and strategies as well as the business values derived from the outcome of a project consistently and effectively to people at different hierarchies.
2. Team building
Project managers don’t need to be only great team leaders, but also tremendous team builders. Successful teams should be able to maintain a positive dynamic and follow common goals. In order to build the team, a project manager should understand their personalities, relationships, and skills of each team member.
Leadership is about inspiring people to achieve desired goals, and a great project manager makes sure that the team is on the right path.
3. Lead by example
An essential skill of a project manager it is to be reliable, honest and loyal in order to be able to gain his team’s trust and commitment.
This means that a project manager should do what he says when he says it. So the team will trust him and he’ll be able to lead them to achieve the project goals. If the team is aware that he would do whatever he expects from them, there is a higher chance that the team members would work hard side by side with him.
A great project manager should be able to delegate tasks to his team members successfully and this requires an in-depth understanding of each individual from his team. He should know every member’s talents, skills, and expertise to assign them tasks that best fit them and gain their trust as well.
Prioritizing the tasks and make the team members believe in their abilities to do specific tasks will help the project manager to achieve the project scope on time and within budget.
A great leader creates an environment that encourages trust and self-belief through the art of delegation.
A shared vision brings a project’s outcome to life. It describes what the world will be like after the project has been delivered and the benefits that people will see, hear and feel.
Successful project managers understand and visualize the big picture of the project and have the ability to efficiently share this with the entire project team. This helps the team members to understand their role and contribution to the project thoroughly.
Sometimes it may be hard for a project manager to turn over some power and decision-making responsibility to the project team that he has assigned. However, in order to be effective on the project and be time efficiently, it’s necessary to empower the team.
In order to let go of control and empower the team, a project manager should help the team to clearly define what needs to be done, who is accountable for what, when it needs to be completed, and then make sure people have the resources and skills to get the job done.
“A project is a problem scheduled for a solution.” – Joseph M. Juran
In projects there are always problems that appear and a skilled project manager should be able to solve them. There are small problems that can be resolved quickly and significant problems that require significant time and effort to solve them.
I usually take the following five problem-solving steps that help me for most of the problems:
- Define the Problem
- Determine the Causes
- Generate Ideas
- Select the Best Solution
- Take Action
Focus is a very important skill of a great leader. It is essential for a project manager to keep his focus on the project goals and individual objectives, no matter what methodology he uses ( Waterfall, Agile, etc ). The key aspect is to maintain the project goals SMART ( Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound ).
Apart from the focus on the project goals, a successful project manager should also concentrate on leadership, processes, and people.
In summary, if project managers can broaden their view of project management to include more of a leadership framework that enables them to lead their projects and teams by improving these eight skills, extraordinary results can happen.