“You fuck them, you kiss them”
Sounds absurd, isn’t it.
But those were the words from a project manager while I was having a conversation about what should be the qualities of a project manager.
Then, I did a Google search on top 10 qualities or top five qualities of project manager and I got a host of results on the same.
There are number of articles that are available that will tell you what should be the quality or qualities of a project manager. Here are some of them that I found the most critical of them that I felt should be the most important qualities of project manager.
First and foremost, a good communicator
Communication holds the key for any project manager as you need communicate well with people with the team members all levels in a project. A project manager should be able to clearly communicate the goals, responsibility, performance, and expectations within the project. It has been known that communication helps the project managers to support individual and team achievements by creating explicit guidelines to accomplish the results. However, you not only have to be a good communicator; instead, you need to be a good two-way communicator, which means it is important that apart from giving information, you need to take feedback, and handle it correctly.
Possess a shared vision
A project manager should possess a shared vision that should be common with the team. A great leader or a manager is one that lifts their team and provides a vision and spirit to change. According to Bennis “They offer people opportunities to create their own vision, to explore what the vision will mean to their jobs and lives, and to envision their future as part of the vision for the organization.” (Bennis, 1997)
Cool like a cucumber
Sounds like a phrase from Navjot Singh Sidhu’s book of dictionary but it’s a fact that the project manager need to be cool and calm under pressure situations. We do no live in a perfect world where projects would be delivered on time and without any problems. As the project proceeds towards completion, there are bound to be some problems to occur. However, a successful project manager is one who stays calm at such situations and takes these problems with a positive attitude. It is always recommended to never let your team see you sweat because of the problems that may occur in the project. The ability to stay calm when everything seems to go wrong is vital.
Able to delegate tasks
Again, an important quality of project manager is to be able to delegate tasks to the team. In fact, this is the most essential element for the project manager. There are a number of tasks that should be delegated to different team members as you simply cannot do everything yourself. You must be able to demonstrate your trust in other people by allowing them to get on with the work they are best suited for. This allows you to focus on the tasks that require your skills. So, it goes without saying that the project manager should be able to recognize skills and expertise of the team members and delegate tasks accordingly.
Possess good problem-solving skills
Apart from all these, the project manager needs to also have good problem-solving skills. Project management is all about solving typical problems in a project. You need to ensure that right things happen at the appropriate or right time. There may be certain barriers that may occur in a project, and it’s up to you how well you remove those barriers. You must be able to look at those barriers and see a way around them. In addition, you also need to be creative to solve problems in your project.
Have good team building skills
A successful project manager is one who binds the team together to achieve a common objective. The project manager need to be able to understand the process and moral force required for transforming the group of strangers into a single cohesive unit. In addition, you as a project manager should know appropriate leadership style that needs to be followed during each stage of team development.
Empathize with the team
A good project manager needs to also empathize with the team members. By empathy, we mean that project manager need to have a good understanding of the team members. In addition, the project manager needs to understand that there is a life outside the workplace. However, you need to be sure that you do not mistake empathy with sympathy. Though, the words may sound similar but they both are mutually exclusive.
Passionate about work
It is generally said that a project manager without passion lacks dedication to their work. The project manager needs to be passionate about the project and must be enthusiastic with right attitude for the team members to follow and respect their decisions. The project manager who have a negative attitude and are not enthusiastic let the team down. The team wants a project manager who has a “can do” attitude. An enthusiastic project manager stay committed towards the goal, and expresses this commitment through positive attitude.
Good understanding about industry
A project manager must possess some industry knowledge and skills that are required for the project. To put it simply, you as a project manager should know what you are doing and should be able to guide the team. The project manager needs to know who the client is and the sort of industry the client is involved in to better suit the requirements.
A project manager is one who is able to display high degree of integrity throughout the project lifecycle. This helps improve your chances of success, strengthens your position as a solid leader and earns you respect from both client and project team. As defined in the English dictionary as “Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code”, integrity is something a Project Manager needs time to develop and demonstrate, but once you have established yourself to the team members as a leader with a great deal of integrity, you will find that your working relationships improve dramatically. By integrity, we also mean that as a project manager, you should be able to “accept responsibility for a mistake that you or one of your project team members have made” and “defend a project team member or client when a situation arises”.
All these qualities are a “must have” for a successful project manager.
However, this does not mean that these qualities are sufficient for a successful project manager. There may be more than these qualities.
As each project is different from another, all these qualities are used at random but in accordance to the needs of the project. However, the key is that the successful project manager needs to know how to maintain stability in the project and should be able to do whatever it would take to get the task done.
Till then, happy project managing!