Good project managers are hard to find, and great project managers are much rarer.
Why is it rare to find a great project manager? In the majority of cases, rating one’s effectiveness is very subjective. How can you quantify certain traits, whether they be personal or professional? What baseline do you use as reference and what factors can you leverage to quantify this in a reasonable manner?
To start, our project management team recommends that you try to catalog some of the key things that make a project manager good at their job. I recall being once asked in job interview: “what would you say are the top three things that make a really good program manager?” This was a tricky, yet very good question. As I thought about it, I came up with the following success criteria based on my own experience in the field:
Being able to look ahead in a positive manner is definitely a must-have attribute for any project manager. Teams often become positive and more motivated at what they do because they have a positive leader who they could look up to. But before a project manager should think about motivating others and helping them stay positive, they must ensure that their own happiness, well-being, and emotional intelligence is in check.
Put Your Staff First
You may think that getting all work needed to be done is the number one source of success. But in reality, it should be the last thing on your mind. Okay, maybe we’re exaggerating a little bit on that one, but it should definitely not be the first thing on a project manager’s mind. Instead, your employees MUST be the first thing that’s on your mind when you come to work in the morning and when you leave to go home. The quality of work complete is dependent on the project team after all.
Be a Leader; Not a Boss
While a leader can be a boss, not every boss is a leader. Although leaders and bosses have somewhat similar roles, in effect, they are different in today’s increasingly competitive business world. For example, the most successful military leaders throughout history headed their troops in fights or campaigns or whatever. The troops were not afraid because their leader was right there with them, helping them every step of the way and moving forward with them. The same cannot be said for bosses (aka. rulers) who look down on their troops/employees and make them subordinates rather than teammates.
Think With the End Goal in Mind
To get an idea of how to get started on the project you are assigned to manage, think of the end in mind. Think of what your objective is and then brainstorm how that objective can be achieved. Then, think of the triple constraint of the object, which include the project’s scope, budget, and scheduling. Which one is more important? Well, it depends on the project itself. But they are all important.
Good Communication Skills
There isn’t enough emphasis in the world to show how important communication is to a project’s life cycle. Great leaders are always ready for advising, discussion and any feedback an employee has to offer. This reciprocity makes any individual employee feel stronger and motivated and gives them confidence to follow the leader.
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