This question is about what a project manager does.

What makes a good project manager?

By Zippia Team - Oct. 25, 2022

Skills like leadership, communication, and organization make a good project manager. A project manager is a professional who plans, organizes, and implements projects while working within a specific budget and timeframe.

They are tasked with leading teams, defining the project's goals, communicating with stakeholders, and overseeing the project from its conception to its closure.

Here are some details on the skills that make a good project manager:

  • Leadership

    Leadership skills are essential to being a good project manager. Project managers can be in charge of a large team or even several large teams, so the ability to lead with confidence is a must. These skills also help to motivate team members and keep their faith in their project manager.

  • Communication

    Project managers must possess strong communication skills. They are the ones in charge and are delegating tasks and explaining objectives. It is critical that these things are delivered to teams with clarity. Project managers may also have to speak with clients or executives; here, they need strong communication skills as well.

    Above all, a good project manager should be able to effectively communicate their vision, goals, and ideas for a project effectively.

  • Organization

    To make projects run efficiently, they must be organized. And the cues regarding organization come from a project manager. This is one of the most important aspects of their job, determining what tasks take priority and what sequence they should be completed.

    Multi-tasking is a component of this as well since most project managers need to be able to work on several different facets of a project at the same time. Documentation is also crucial to this skill; documenting work keeps everything in order and allows the project manager to reference it in the future.

  • Team managing

    A project manager needs to be able to bring a team or teams together and direct them towards the objective. This includes helping these employees to align their own goals with those of the project and organization.

    Team management also refers to effectively delegating tasks amongst team members, handling conflicts amongst staff or other issues, and evaluating a team's performance. Good project managers need to be able to coach their team members in ways that improve their skills, work ethic, and output.
  • Negotiation

    Project managers must be skilled negotiators. They often have to deal with clients, stakeholders, and suppliers of a project in ways where negotiation is key. Negotiation skills also come into play when dealing with team members and making sure that all are working towards a common goal.

  • Time management

    Project managers always have to adhere to deadlines. This is why time management skills are essential to being a good project manager. Task delegation and deadlines concerning different aspects of a project must be enforced if the overall project is to get finished on time.

    Project managers also utilize these skills to create project timelines which have markers for deadlines within the entire project's lifecycle.

  • Risk management

    Risks are a part of nearly all projects, so risk management skills are extremely important for project managers. Knowing what risks a project may have and coming up with prevention plans and other risk mitigation techniques is essential.

    They also must inform team members of potential risks and guide them in ways to avoid them or give them instructions on what to do in the event risk is realized.

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving

    These are also crucial skills for a good project manager. Solving problems can be a daily routine in the career of a project manager, and the ability to think critically about complex issues is vital. Demonstrable skills in these areas help to solidify a project manager's leadership amongst his team.

    They must have a structured approach to resolving potential problems that can be easily employed.

  • Budget management

    Perhaps one of the most important duties of a project manager is the creation and management of a project's budget. They need experience and skill in this area to plan accordingly for any project.

    A good project manager should be able to determine where and when costs could exceed a budget and develop effective changes to control the costs of a project. Project managers use spreadsheets to keep track of all budgetary issues over the entire course of a project.

  • Motivation

    The ability to motivate team members is crucial for project managers. If a project manager can get their team to approach tasks enthusiastically and uniformly, it makes for a much smoother experience, as well as a better final result.

    Techniques in this area include praising team members accordingly, other methods of positive reinforcement, and team-building exercises. The ultimate goal with motivation should be to create a productive, fun, and collaborative work setting.

  • Technical writing

    Technical writing skills can be extremely useful to project managers, especially when they need to explain complex or technical issues to clients or stakeholders in a way they can understand.

    Good technical writing consists of writing about complicated topics in ways laymen readers can comprehend. Project managers use these skills on a number of different documents.

  • Adaptability

    Being adaptive is a great skill for a project manager. Rarely do projects go off exactly to plan. Project managers must be ready to make necessary changes or shift priorities according to different developments within a project.

    This is also important as it relates to new technologies, product trends, consumer surveys, and user demographics.

  • Technical skills

    Most good project managers are proficient in the technical areas of a project. This way, they can guide a team member or even step in for a brief period when necessary. Technical knowledge and hands-on experience with the most current technologies also help project managers increase their team's output.

  • Reporting skills

    A project manager must keep detailed reports that can then be accessed for future reference. This is perhaps most useful when a project experiences many problems or technical issues. Solid documentation of these events can lead to strategies that keep them from occurring in the future.

  • Listening skills

    Being an active listener regarding team members is an extremely important skill for a project manager. Oftentimes team members come up with great ideas or solutions to problems. A project manager must remain open-minded to ideas from team members and truly listen to what they have to say.

    This also helps to foster positive professional dynamics amongst staff and can bond team members with their project manager. Listening skills are also essential for project managers when communicating with clients, stakeholders, or any other senior officials.

  • Research skills

    Research skills are important to a project manager. Especially if a project runs into an issue that the project manager is not already familiar with, they must remain teachable and seek out the information that resolves issues and makes projects run more efficiently.

  • Interpersonal skills

    These skills include relationship management, collaboration skills, and self-confidence. A good project manager needs to be able to work well in a collaborative sense while remaining a leadership figure amongst their team.

    Relationship skills come into play not only with team members but also with clients, stakeholders, vendors, and many other parties. Having strong skills in this area helps to grow relationships with many key professionals a project manager must engage with.

  • Conflict resolving

    Conflict-resolving skills are very important for project managers. They should be able to resolve any inner team disputes fairly and swiftly. This helps the team work efficiently and collaboratively.

    Conflict resolution skills also apply to adjusting sub-par workflows, project problems, and other negative external factors.

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