11 Leadership Qualities of a Great Project Manager
Leadership is an essential and critical skill that can determine the magnitude of an individual’s achievements within their career. To be a successful and productive project manager, however, the qualities of project leadership that are required can be very different from other fields of work. The main focus of a project manager is to effectively oversee and lead the project, not the individuals completing it. This makes the set of necessary leadership qualities very unique.
11 Leadership Qualities of a Great Project Manager
1. Convey the Big Picture
As the manager and owner of a project, it is essential for project managers to possess the skills to understand and visualize the entire picture of a project and convey this effectively to the whole project team. Once a leader is able to successfully communicate this message, the project team can more thoroughly understand the importance of their role and contributions to the end results, as well as how it impacts their overall career.
2. Build the Team
One of the most important roles of the project manager is not only to be a great team leader but a great team builder. Productive and successful teams are those that are able to maintain a strong, positive dynamic and stick together to achieve common goals. To successfully lead a team, project managers must understand the personalities, relationships, and skills of each individual. Conflict management and early detection are critical to the success of the team.
3. Set the Example
Reliable, honest, loyal and ethical; a project manager must possess all of these essential leadership qualities. With these, a project manager can lead by example and gain the trust and commitment of his or her own team.
4. Superior Communication Skills
The key to any relationship is communication. As a project manager, superior communication skills are critical. Within this role, the project manager is responsible for communicating with a very wide variety of individuals at all levels within the working environment. Clear, specific and detailed communication is essential to maintaining seamless project progress and project completion. Project managers must lead by sharing and managing project objectives, timelines, and expectations to the larger group while also maintaining input and feedback from the team.
5. Find the Solution
All great project leaders are able to solve problems, whether team related or project related. They must be resourceful and creative in finding the solutions to issues of all magnitudes. In most instances, finding the solution involves accurately identifying the team member that can help resolve the problem fast and efficiently, and understanding the underlying elements of the project issue to effectively come to a resolution.
6. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
A superior project management leader is able to successfully and accurately delegate tasks. Doing this requires an in-depth understanding of the team’s individuals, their talents, skills, expertise, and passions. Utilizing this knowledge and appropriately delegating tasks to the right team members is the recipe for the best possible project result. When team members are assigned tasks that best fit them, they are more inclined to trust their leader. And in turn, project managers must maintain a proper balance of checking work, controlling and delegating tasks and develop a mutual trust between themselves and their team.
7. Rise to Full Potential
To gain the respect and trust of the project team, a strong leader must be able to show they are competent and able to succeed. When a project manager demonstrates that they are in complete control, and have the power to constructively challenge, inspire and encourage, their team members are more inclined to be fully confident in their leader.
8. Glass Half Full
A successful project leader must possess the ability to remain optimistic. When a project manager is able to consistently demonstrate a positive attitude and enthusiastically collaborate with their team members, it can be contagious and help the team remain committed to the project. This concept is essential to producing and maintaining a happy, positive and productive work environment.
9. Be Caring
In the working world, is it important for a great project leader to understand that all projects require a certain level of work/life balance for the members of the entire project team. While team members can be dedicated to a project, they are still people with lives outside the workplace. Demonstrating empathy and compassion toward the members of the team can directly impact the quality of the relationships and help produce better overall project results.
10. Maintain Composure
Projects of all sizes and complexities will have their obstacles. No matter how well planned a project is, overcoming these issues requires a project leader that is able to consistently maintain their composure. The best leaders resolve problems by remaining calm and collected while quickly assessing the issue, working toward a resolution and getting the project moving in the right direction.
11. Be Passionate
Team members are naturally drawn to follow leaders who are positive, enthusiastic and most importantly, passionate. As a project leader, it is essential to remain optimistically committed to a project and the overall big picture. The passion and enthusiasm a leader demonstrates toward a project and its team can directly lead to a productive, dedicated and happy team.
As project managers practice, adapt and perfect these fundamental leadership skills, and learn when and how to best utilize them, they are destined to excel as leaders in the field of project management.