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With the world of technology thriving and hybrid work becoming the norm, project managers must upgrade their current skill sets to see their working projects succeed from start to finish.

While organisational skills are a necessary requirement for project managers, they’re only a fraction of what is now required from stand-out project managers in the fast-paced and changing world of work. In this blog, we delve into six qualities of a good project manager that will keep you at the top of your game.

1) The ability to reinvent

One dominating area of future work trends is reinvention, something that the past two years have forced many organisations to adopt.

Due to several uncontrollable external factors such as the cost of living and hybrid working, projects have a higher chance of changes occurring, budgets cuts and communication issues. This means project managers must be able to think ahead, remain agile, and adapt their current plans when faced with unforeseen circumstances.

As a project manager, expecting the unexpected is vital, as well as remembering that reinvention is normal and not to be seen as failure. Sometimes it is only when a project starts that gaps and missing parts of information start to occur, causing the project manager to make quick, informed and relevant changes.

2) Remote managing

This quality may seem obvious in the current state of work; however, things do change quickly, and they are not always certain. While some teams work remotely, others are enjoying a more hybrid working environment as well as working in shared offices.

Therefore, a good project manager must be able to adapt to the style of working that their team opt for.

It will be clear how good a remote project manager is by the responsiveness of their team, as well as taking into consideration the below points - 

  • The output of the team and how given tasks are undertaken
  • The general happiness of the team and how they interact with one and other
  • How the team are perceived externally from other senior managers – are your team known for being efficient and well informed?
  • How the team respond to feedback, constructive criticism and open communication. A happy team are likely to be able to take on board the above without it having any effect on their confidence or ability

Linking back to our first point of reinvention, a good project manager must be able to manage both remotely and in person, with it having no effect on their performance.

3) Sufficient use of project management tools

It’s said that 95% of project managers use two or more project management tools when it comes to staying on top and in control of their projects. In this digital age, project management tools (such as Trello, HubSpot, Workzone and Asana) are heavily relied upon and have proven track records of helping projects run efficiently. Other known benefits of using project management tools include:

  • Enhanced productivity, planning and scheduling
  • Straight forward task delegation and integration of new team members
  • Effective risk identification and mitigation
  • Improved budget management
  • Further reporting and analytics options

As loved and well-used as project management tools are, it’s also important to know the few pitfalls of using these tools and platforms so that you can make well-informed decisions regarding them.

Project management tools can be expensive, and often only worth it if you invest at an enterprise level because of the additional features and users.

These tools are also typically all cloud-based, meaning if there’s a particular technology issue one day and the site is down, there’s no additional way to access what you need from the platform, having a negative impact on your team’s output.

Also, adequate training and onboarding of these tools is crucial for all members of staff using them, to make sure everyone is confident, and comfortable and errors are kept to a minimum. This can be time consuming, costly and is not something that should be rushed.

4) Know how to utilise your soft skills, and recognise others’

To be a successful, well-rounded project manager, a mixture of both soft and hard skills is a must. As well as being data orientated, efficient in risk management and have solid budgeting and forecasting skills, a well-rounded project manager is also empathetic, patient and flexible.

It also goes without saying that a good project manager should have great communication skills and should thrive off leading a team. Those who make up a project management team will differ and thus offer a variety of different skills and personalities, a project manager should be able to pinpoint who is best placed where, utilising everyone’s skills, capabilities and maximising potential.

5) Know how to create a safe working environment

As a project manager, being able to foster safe and happy working conditions is crucial and taking in and acting on the feedback given by your teams will really help shape how your team functions.

Project managers must be on hand to offer support, as well as set realistic and timely deadlines that those within their teams are able to meet. Offering plenty of flexibility (within reason) so that people feel like they have a grip on their work-life balance and giving credit where credit is due will only result in happier and more hardworking individuals.

To add, it’s natural that within working teams there may be a few conflicts or arguments due to working in such proximity, often under demanding circumstances. It’s important that a project manager can manage conflict, stay calm, and look at situations with workable solutions.

A few ways to do this might include:

  • Ensure everyone is aware of their specific responsibilities, so there’s no duplication or confusion amongst the team
  • Enforce positive confrontation – it’s important that those within the team can speak to each other about their issues in a polite and professional manner. Not all confrontation has to be negative!
  • Use the power of compromising – sometimes there isn’t a right answer, so meeting somewhere in the middle is a good solution
  • Encourage team collaboration – supporting your team in their efforts to work together will make everyone feel collectively involved

6) Have both an objective and holistic point of view

As individuals, it’s easy to become hyper-focused and develop a narrow vision when working on projects. It can be difficult to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, however, this is one of the responsibilities of a project manager and is truly a great quality to have as any working professional.

Project managers must ensure that all projects align correctly with the company goals and objectives, and experienced project managers will be great at both referring to other projects and learning and speaking from experience to ensure their current project is managed correctly.

A few ways to maintain a holistic approach when project managing include -

  • Regular check-ins with all members of working group to run through current activities
  • Monthly team reviews where collectively you look back on original objectives, making sure activities reflect them
  • Necessary check in with your own senior manager to ensure your current working priorities align with theirs
  • Ensure correct governance – being on top of the various strictures, processes and culture within your team will ensure you have a hand on all moving parts

Being a good project manager is an extremely rewarding and fulfilling career choice, that is full of opportunity and self-development.

If project managing seems like the right career choice for you, find out more about our 100% online PRINCE2 qualifications and enrol today!