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3 key qualities that make you a great project manager

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay

Project management focuses on the planning, development, and supervision of new business initiatives, ensuring all stages of the process are executed as smoothly as possible. Those in this field are tasked with the entire project scope, overseeing its budget, its resources, and its stakeholders. In a landscape currently impacted by COVID-19, project management has grown ever-more complex, spurring greater demand for those with the right skills and experience in the area. 

As a sector responsible for the success of business plans and projects, candidates must possess a certain degree of technical skill and industry experience. However, having the right character traits can also help in one’s endeavours.

Below, we explore the three key qualities required of any project manager, and how online courses can help in your career path. 

3 great qualities to have as a project manager

1. Effective communication skills.

Project managers are, above all else, excellent communicators. Their role is not only focused on managing specific projects – but the teams that develop and execute them; making verbal and written communication both critical skills. Active listening skills are also a must, as project managers are required to accept, reflect, and act on constructive feedback, inquiries, or concerns. Doing so can help workers feel valued in their contributions while also helping reduce potential conflict and misunderstandings. 

The ability to properly and clearly express project goals in plain, jargon-free language is another necessary skill. While you may have the technical background to manage your project, those executing your tasks may not be as knowledgeable in the nitty-gritty details. Additionally, proper work delegation and setting clear expectations for each project role are also crucial to ensuring maximum team performance. 

Finally, a skilled project manager knows how to negotiate. This is especially helpful with settling conflicts or disagreements among your team, helping you mediate issues and come to a satisfying compromise. Negotiation skills can additionally come in handy when dealing with stakeholders and navigating unfeasible requests. 

Despite playing a key role in the field of project management, communication skills are reportedly among the most lacking in current-day project managers. Ensuring your proficiency in this area is thus bound to set you apart from competitors on the job market. 

2. A strategic, business-oriented mindset.

team collaboration concept

To ensure the success of a project, its manager must have a thorough understanding of how it fits the company’s wider, “big-picture” goals. This allows them to properly map out a project’s development and execution to deliver the most effective outcomes for their organisation. Achieving this requires apt strategic and analytical skills, along with substantial knowledge of business plans and processes.

This, of course, includes strong discipline and organisational skills. You’ll want to properly plan out your project goals, target benchmarks, and the budget required for successful completion. Organising and scheduling each aspect of your project is crucial to ensuring both you and your team are on the right track; and helps avoid missing out on the fine details. 

Additionally, proper foresight and risk management is a must. Use the available information you have to make educated predictions and estimates on the required time, resources, and budget your project will need down the line. Anticipating potential risks also plays a role in this stage, helping you prepare appropriately. This helps avoid roadblocks or performance delays that can significantly hamper project success and lead to damaged relationships with stakeholders. 

3. Strong leadership and management. 

Finally, a skilled project manager is often a consistent, reliable leader. As someone tasked to manage others, inspiring drive and motivation is critical. This involves giving generous credit where it's due, encouraging open communication between you and your team (as well as amongst themselves), and instilling confidence among your sponsors and stakeholders. Getting these people onboard your vision can help steer your project in the right direction, boost morale, and empower team members to give their best performance. 

Additionally, you’ll need to keep a cool head under pressure. Changes and unforeseen circumstances are all-too-common among business projects, and it’s imperative to stay focused and maintain momentum regardless. Having effective problem-solving skills goes hand-in-hand with this, helping you clearly determine the next steps to best diffuse difficult situations.

Last but not least – successful project managers, like all effective leaders, hold themselves accountable for their mistakes. This sets a positive example for your team and encourages them to perform their tasks with integrity.

What can I learn from project manager courses?

As mentioned, additional training courses can help in your career path to project management. Plenty are now available online, such as those provided by Upskilled. 

By undertaking online programs in project management, you’ll explore the skills required for effective project planning, budgeting, quality assurance, time management, and risk management. You’ll also learn to manage human resources, including providing team members with the necessary training to carry out a project.  

Additionally, a comprehensive project management course will focus on building your soft skills – these include (but aren’t limited to) the ability to communicate with influence, negotiation skills, and creative or critical thinking abilities.  

Is a project manager course worth it?

woman talking on the phone smiling

For those currently juggling employment, familial commitments, or other personal responsibilities – yet still wish to build their skills for a project management career, a course in project management can be well worth the investment. 

As most of its resources are delivered online, such programs grant you the flexibility to plan your studies around your current schedule. Attending a physical campus isn’t necessary, and thus, you’re given the freedom to train at a time, place, and pace that best suits you. You’ll also likely save on regular transportation or commuting costs, and some courses even offer varying payment options to best fit your financial needs. 

On top of its financial and training flexibility, plenty of online courses result in nationally-recognised qualifications – equipping you with the industry credentials to stand out among employers. 

Start building your project management skill set today! 

With currently massive demand and even stronger growth on the horizon, project management is a highly attractive career field for those with logical, analytical, and business skills to excel. Online courses can help you further hone these skills for success on the job market, such as those currently offered by Upskilled. 

Through a BSB50820 – Diploma of Project Management or a BSB40920 – Certificate IV in Project Management Practice, aspiring project managers can sharpen their skills in communication, leadership, and human resource management. Aside from general project management, such courses can also lead to roles in contract management, project analysis, and project administration. 
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