The project manager, in addition to the difficulties inherent to the management of projects and tasks, must face endless situations that can affect them personally and emotionally, as well as the well-being of his team. For this reason, a good project manager should have the following soft skills:
Communication is the foundation of a properly-functioning, civilised society. This also applies to project teams. A good project manager must be able to clearly communicate to his team the tasks they must perform, so that the performance of the workers is adjusted as much as possible to the needs of customers.
2. Know how to listen
An aspect of communication is the ability to listen to others. A good project manager must be able to listen and understand both clients and workers. Only then can he be able to mediate between the two and arrive at the project’s desired goals.
The project will not easily come to fruition if the project manager does not demonstrate a high level of leadership. The project depends on him and he will achieve it through the work of the team, so he must know how to lead.
4. Strenghten the team
The success of a project lies in a good team (or several teams, depending on the type of project). And it is the project manager’s responsibility to create that team and ensure its proper functioning. Choosing the right people, assigning responsibilities, betting on a climate of trust and mediating in case of conflict between team-members are some of the key functions that should be performed to ensure the performance of the group.
Conflicts should not always be avoided, though, as they can sometimes have a positive impact on the team or project, provided that the project manager correctly intermediates. In addition, a reward system should be devised for each team, based on the achievement of the objectives.
5. Problem solving, adaptation and intelligence
These three skills that should be intrinsic to any leader, including a project manager. Quoting the scientist Stephen Hawking, "intelligence is the ability to adapt to change." During the execution of a project, there are many circumstances that can change, creating adverse situations and problems that must be solved. A good leader demonstrates his intelligence by being flexible, adapting to the moment and finding solutions appropriate to the context.
6. Restless research and creativity
When facing a problem that you have encountered before, you can simply apply a solution that previously worked. But what happens when you face a new problem that requires a different solution?
A project manager must be able to find innovative and creative solutions. A leader must be able to look for solutions applied in other companies, environments, markets or sectors and find a way to apply these solutions to the specific situation of the organisation.
However, there may be situations that are completely new, for which there are no precedents. In these cases, the leader should be creative and find new solutions.
7. Economic skills
The management of a project implies the management of a budget assigned for its execution. A project manager must not only be able to adequately manage human resources, but also the material and economic goods assigned to the project.
The project manager must be close and make himself accessible to team members. Only then he can understand their needs and difficulties and provide the best solutions.
Additionally, the project manager should always consider the human aspect of each task. All team members can face personal problems of force majeure. Especially in these situations, the project manager must empathise with the team and act as a problem solver.
A good project manager should know how to properly motivate the team and take into account the different expectations of team members. His mission will be to find a rewards system that is motivating for all members.
10. Risk analysis
One quality that any project manager should have is to be able to be analytical. Before taking any action, he must be able to foresee the consequences in case that something doesn’t work as intended and prepare contingency plans for these situations.
11. Learning and improvement
In classical Greek philosophy, Heraclitus of Ephesus affirmed that "change is the only constant". In today's world, fast and dynamic as never before in History, this quote makes even more sense.
A project manager must be willing to constantly change, to adapt and learn tirelessly. Only then he will be able to consistently contribute and improve the execution of his projects.
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