11 Must-Know Collaboration Skills for Project Managers

Max Benz
By | Updated December 11, 2023 | 13 min read

Key Take Aways

  • The article discusses the 11 collaboration skills that project managers should master.
  • These skills include communication abilities, inspiring leadership, emotional intelligence, problem-solving, time management, reliability, flexibility, negotiation skills, conflict resolution, risk management, and collaboration tools.
  • The author emphasizes that project managers must lead by example on every project and be able to manage their emotions and those of their team members.
  • They should also be able to identify problems and find solutions quickly, manage their time effectively, and prioritize tasks.
  • Additionally, project managers should be reliable and dependable, flexible and adaptable, and able to negotiate effectively with stakeholders, team members, and clients.
  • They should also be able to identify and manage conflicts within their team, identify and manage risks associated with their projects, and be familiar with collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Trello.


Project management is a complex yet rewarding field where fostering teamwork is vital to achieving success.

Project managers are pivotal in this realm, requiring more than technical expertise or organizational skills. They need to master the art of project collaboration, blending their knowledge with interpersonal finesse to lead diverse teams toward a common goal.

This article highlights 11 crucial collaboration skills every project manager should develop. From harnessing effective communication to nurturing a love for teamwork, these skills are indispensable in steering projects to successful completion.

Why Do You Need to Build Collaboration Skills?

Project managers often find themselves leading teams filled with diverse profiles and personalities. This is why project managers must bring those individuals together, ensuring everyone is involved in project collaboration while striving to deliver their best work.

Training and Skill Development

That’s often easier said than done, however. Poorly trained project managers are among the top three project management challenges.

It means project managers can’t rely upon their innate skills and abilities – they need to identify the appropriate collaboration skills and consciously develop them.

Transforming into Effective Leaders through Collaboration

When project managers hone the right collaboration skills, they become more effective leaders. They are better able to make their team feel great and focus on producing quality work. This transformation is crucial for the project’s success and the personal growth of the project manager.

11 Must-Know Collaboration Skills for Project Managers

In the dynamic world of project management, collaborating effectively is a game-changer.

There are 11 essential collaboration skills every project manager should master to lead successful, high-performing teams. Let’s explore these must-have skills that can elevate your project management.

1. Communication Abilities

This PDF research paper shows project managers can enhance collaboration through efficient and effective communication. If a critical project detail is lost in translation, there will inevitably be some serious issues that emerge further down the line.

Communication skills help project managers to share and understand information. This ensures the entire team is aligned with the intended vision while working harmoniously.

Project managers should develop their verbal and written communication skills as a priority. They should also hone their knowledge in a range of specialist areas so that they can speak, for example, with their video engineer using the correct terminology. Using tools like SharePoint for project management can aid in this endeavor.

2. Inspiring Leadership

Project managers must lead by example on every project. Their energy and understanding are the driving force behind each project and often determine its quality. This is why project managers should be considered influential and inspiring leaders who can implement varied and creative leadership styles.

Sophisticated leadership skills can enhance the productivity and general performance of a team. Strong leadership skills can transform a project, and that’s why most organizations abide by the importance of developing leaders at all levels.

Project managers should be inspired to think carefully about their leadership abilities and where to strengthen their skills to get the most from their team.

3. Emotional Intelligence

We all know that project management is a complex and demanding undertaking. It’s essential that project managers never let their emotions get the better of them – this can lead to resentment and low team productivity levels.

Project managers must develop a deep sense of team emotional intelligence to avoid losing calm. They should learn to become more self-aware and empathetic to understand the emotional energy within their group.

The best project managers can read their team’s energy levels and sentiment and guide it in the right direction. Those project managers keep their team happy and motivated to continue exceeding targets.

4. Reliability

Reliability is essential because when people are trustworthy they can be expected to perform consistently. It is the main reason why every project manager wants their team members to be highly reliable members of a functioning whole.

It’s also imperative that project managers themselves are reliable. Team members can only perform to the best of their ability when they know they are working for an inspiring project manager with complete control over the project.

This is why project managers should meditate on reliability and aim to deliver.

5. Love for Collaboration

Every person is unique when it comes to their ability to collaborate. Some people are born team players who reach new heights while working with others, while others prefer to go it alone.

Modern projects are often incredibly complex, though seamless collaboration between team members is essential to success. A range of profiles must pool their talents to achieve the desired results.

Project managers should understand what it means to collaborate effectively. They should regularly assess their performance and find new ways to grow their love for collaboration.

6. Technical Know-How

Project managers must often manage multidisciplinary teams and cultivate knowledge in various specializations. This allows project managers to speak confidently with all stakeholders and understand what’s possible.

For example, a great project manager can speak about the Adobe suite and know its capabilities. Project managers can confidently bridge the gap between the client and their team.

Project managers must also be able to use project collaboration tools like BrightWork 365 to organize and track their teams – an essential and ever-growing trend in the managerial space.

7. Problem-Solving Abilities

Project managers often find that much of their time is spent putting out fires in different places. They might have to handle an urgent client request in one moment before quickly taking a budgetary issue with another project.

This work would make most people uncomfortable, but project managers can power through. The project manager’s ability to handle problems as they arise keeps the team collaborating seamlessly.

8. Efficiency

For every project to flourish, the project manager’s role as a central figure is indisputable. They stand at the crossroads of client communication and team collaboration, adeptly interpreting and conveying critical information to ensure all project tasks align with the client’s vision.

This pivotal role necessitates effective communication, stellar time management skills, and organizational prowess.

Being efficient isn’t just about speed – it’s about foresight and precision in project planning. A project manager adept in efficiency can predict and navigate potential roadblocks proactively.

They are not merely reacting to situations but are actively shaping the project’s trajectory, ensuring that the project schedule is adhered to without sacrificing quality. This approach maintains momentum and keeps the team engaged and focused.

When project managers effectively use project collaboration tools and harness their technical skills, they set a constructive pace for the entire team. Their ability to stay a step ahead catalyzes the group, fostering a collaborative environment where every team member is attuned to the project’s rhythm.

This harmony is crucial – if a project manager lags, it can disrupt the workflow, leading to delays and diminishing the team’s collaborative spirit.

9. Open-Mindedness

Great ideas come from every team level, so project managers should learn to keep an open mind and consider ideas from their team members. Every member of any team should be able to make a suggestion.

If a project manager fails to respect the contributions of others, they might pass on a fantastic idea while taking the wind out of the sails of a valuable team member. Project managers must blend an open mind with a diplomatic approach.

Before you start breaking from tradition, though, you’ve got to understand established conventions entirely.

10. Diplomacy

Diplomacy is essential for any professional but significant for project managers. Diplomacy is the ability to understand the opinions and feelings of others to make fair and reasonable decisions.

Project managers work with a variety of profiles, and they are often posed with a range of challenging scenarios. They might have to choose when to allow holidays, for instance, or how to approach an underperforming team member.

Project managers should learn to harness their diplomatic skills. This ability gives project managers the power to tackle any situation and keep their team performing to the best of their ability.

11. The Power of Hindsight

The power of hindsight is invaluable. Just as influential figures like politicians or corporate leaders shape visions that galvanize support, a successful project manager uses this foresight to foster stronger relationships within their team.

They align their team’s work with the project goals by harnessing a knowledge-based approach and projecting an inspiring vision of project outcomes. This strategic foresight and the ability to reflect and learn from past experiences empowers project managers to guide their teams through complex projects.

The best project managers anticipate future challenges and share their insightful vision with their team, ensuring all group members work collaboratively towards a common goal. Such visionary leadership keeps the team’s energy focused and synchronizes their efforts for maximum effectiveness in collaborative environments.

Get the Collaborative Project Management Handbook

Improve your leadership, collaboration, and project management skills with “Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook” written by Éamonn McGuinness.

Master These 11 Collaboration Skills to Become an Effective Project Manager

In conclusion, the effectiveness of a project manager is significantly amplified by their collaboration skills. These skills are the lifeblood of successful project management, enabling managers to synchronize the efforts of their team members toward achieving project objectives.

Whether enhancing team communication, problem-solving, or fostering a collaborative environment, each skill contributes to the seamless execution of project tasks.

As you integrate these insights and apply them to the specific functions of your role, remember that mastering project management software like BrightWork 365 can significantly aid in your journey of continuous learning and adaptability.

Embrace the journey of continuous learning and adaptability, and watch as your projects transform from mere tasks into achievements that resonate with efficiency, unity, and shared success.


This post was originally published in November 2019 and has been updated for accuracy, comprehensiveness, and freshness.

Project management on Microsoft 365

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Max Benz
Max Benz

Content Marketing Manager at Filestage

Max Benz is a content marketing manager at Filestage and loves actionable content that makes a difference. On the side, he’s running a German SaaS directory, suitApp.de and shares his experiences working remotely and traveling around the world with his family on his personal blog.

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