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Essential Skills Every Project Manager Should Have

There are many skills that come together to create an effective project manager.

Some of them may come naturally, others are developed through experience, and there are then those that are harvested from project management training courses. In this post, we are going to go over some of the essential project management skills that all managers need to have.

Negotiation

Negotiation skills are required more often than you may imagine! There are going to be times when conflicts arise. This could be a conflict between various team members, or you could find yourself at loggerheads with a stakeholder. You need to find a solution that will keep everyone happy. This involves compromise and effective negotiation.

Critical thinking

You need to be able to make good decisions. A good project manager is not someone who is indecisive, or someone who struggles to make a well-balanced decision and blows issues out of the water every time. Instead, a good project manager is able to balance up the pros and the cons of each solution before coming to the best decision for the project. You also need to be good at problem solving. Don’t wait for things to go wrong. Instead, you need to be proactive. You also need to analyse problems effectively to determine the root issue, and then look at several different solutions before choosing the right one.

Risk management

All project managers need to be adept in risk management. This is something executive coaching can assist with. This is something that is extensively taught during project management training. You need to be able to see any potential issues in a project before it arises, and you must create solutions to deal with these issues, ensuring they do not lead to project failure.

Leadership

Being an effective leader is a must. You need to manage your team well and lead them to project success. It is important to inspire others and to set a vision. It’s up to you to show everyone the benefits of the project and the impact their specific task will have on the overall result. You also need to know when to step in and when to take a back seat.

Time management

The ability to effectively manage time is something that every project manager needs to have. Otherwise, things will fall behind schedule, deliverables will not be met, and customers and stakeholders will not be satisfied. There are many components that come together when managing time during a project. This includes the likes of determining the critical path, constructing network diagrams, and developing project schedules. However, it also includes delegating tasks successfully. You need to ensure that the right people are working on the right tasks, and that everyone has a clearly defined role and responsibilities. If you assign a task to someone that is not suited to it, you are only going to push the project back.

Flexibility

A good project manager needs to be flexible, and by this, we don’t mean that you need to be able to do handstands! Flexibility is a critical component of every project, as projects change all of the time. You will never work on a project whereby everything goes exactly how you outlined it in your project plan. People can leave, deliverables can change, and things can go off course due to unforeseeable hurdles along the way. You need to be someone that can effectively adapt to situations like this.

Communication

The importance of effective communication during a project cannot be underestimated. It is your job to ensure that all of the right people are kept up to date with the progress of the project. You also need to create an environment whereby everyone feels comfortable enough to give their opinion or suggest new ideas. You need to keep all communications simple, directive, clear and motivational. It can be easy to get lost in a sea of jargon and technical acronyms, from RBS to Gantt charts, but do not forget to speak in a language that all of your team members will understand. By doing this, you will motivate your employees  to achieve the objectives you have set out.

So there you have it; some of the most essential skills that all project managers need to have. If you feel that you do not have one or several of the skills that have been mentioned, do not fret. Project management isn’t something that comes naturally. It can be taught.

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