Skills for a project manager

Skills for a project manager: These Put you in the Top 3%

Skills for a project manager

The project manager is the person who’s in charge of making sure the project moves through the different phases smoothly, which means they need to be proactive, organized, and disciplined. Being a successful project manager takes patience but it can be done with these qualities.

I’m not going to lie and say that I’ve always been perfect as a project manager. I remember my first project and how nervous I was. And, even though I didn’t do everything perfectly, it taught me what I needed to do in the future to make myself a better project manager. If I were to look at my career as a project manager and the skills that I wish I had when I started out, these would be it:

Here are three hard skills that distinguish the best project managers:

Hard Skill 1: Technical Skills

Having the appropriate technical skills will not just help you communicate with the team better but also ensure quality output. Whether translating a business requirement into tasks for a software developer, engaging with stakeholders or being able to do quality audits – a project manager should be equipped to handle all types of technical tasks.

For example, I was able to automate a lot of monotonous work using basic Python programming and Google sheet macros when I started out as a project manager for a B2B Digital Marketing Agency. You will also gain a lot of respect among the team members for being to able to talk in their language, using their jargons.

Hard Skill 2: Ability to Zoom in and Out

Skills for a Project Manager Prioritize items

What do I mean by zoom in and out? Projects can last anywhere from a few months to many years. It’s important to not get consumed too much into specific issues and be cognizant of the ‘larger picture’. A smart project manager will know the amount effort that needs to be allocated for different tasks based on priority and importance.

Hard Skill 3: Translating vague business objectives into measurable deliverables

There are so many projects that don’t go as planned so good communication is key here. You’ll need to be able to figure out what you want from your employees and then communicate it effectively without being too bossy or abrasive. The best way to do this is by breaking down the objective into steps and then assigning deadlines and responsibilities for each step (i.e., you might ask someone to research information on a specific topic by a certain date). Another skill successful project managers possess is being able to prioritize tasks by their urgency and importance level. This will help you make sure your time is spent accordingly–you’ll know exactly where your focus needs to go next (i.e., you might choose research over writing an outline if it needs more of your attention).

Here are the 5 Must-Have Soft Skills for a Project Manager

Soft Skill 1: Excellent time management abilities

Having good time management skills can be the difference between a good and a top-notch project manager. Managing time effectively means to get things done within deadline, with the least amount of friction, effort and while maintaining optimal quality. It’s important for project managers to be organized and have excellent time management skills. A successful project manager will always provide regular updates on the progress of the project, including any changes that are made during the process. They’ll also know how to communicate effectively with stakeholders – internal and external.

A good way to learn how to balance your time better is by prioritizing. Essentially, this means picking one task at a time and finishing it before moving on to anything else. This way, you’ll never have too many tasks going at once which will reduce stress levels.


Soft Skill 2: Ability to accept criticism and stay calm under pressure


Skills for a Project Manager - stress resilience

Project managers are constantly being put under pressure. Their job requires them to have thick skin and be able to effectively manage any kind of situation. It’s not always easy to stay calm under pressure, but good project managers know how to keep their cool. They are able to keep their composure in tough situations and remain productive. Given most work is now remote, with people from different time zones, there is bound to be some friction in communication and getting work done. It’s best to stay calm, handle the problems one at a time and not taking any criticism personally.


Soft Skill 3: Communication – both verbal and written

If you’re the type of person who is hesitant to talk to strangers or say NO, then project management is going to be tough. Over 90% of the work that you would be doing will revolve around communication. It’s the single most important skill you need to master.

Project managers are able to communicate with the team, stakeholders, and customers. If you can’t articulate your thoughts or ideas clearly to others, then it’s difficult to be successful as a project manager.

Soft Skill 4: Always looking to improve

One skill that distinguishes successful project managers from the rest is the ability to continuously look for ways to improve their performance. This means they might be reading articles/listening to podcasts about best practices, getting certifications (like CAPM, PMP, CSM) or looking at new online courses on the latest trends in project management. It also means they’re willing to take risks and try new things.


Soft Skill 5: Setting clear expectations for themselves and others on the team

The best project managers are able to set clear expectations at the beginning. You want to articulate what you expect from yourself and then the team. The clearer the expectations, the better chance you have of completing your project on time.

Setting the right expectations with all stakeholders will ensure there no nasty surprises. Remember.. you can plan for known unknowns but not unknown unknowns!

Skills for a project manager

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