All great leaders share certain basic qualities. The success or failure of a project depends heavily on the quality and competence of a team’s manager. When participating in a job search for a project management position, make sure you’re able to remember certain situations where you exhibited the following qualities in a work setting. If a recruiter knows you embody these traits, you’ll be more likely to land the job you want.
As a project manager, you’re likely to be put at the forefront of some high-pressure situations. You’ll need to deal with difficult people and problems during the most challenging times, and that’s not an easy task. The best managers will stay focused on the goal, consider how a problem affects crucial deadlines and remain calm throughout all of the chaos. For example, you may have to present the CEO of a client’s company with news of adding resources, which will mean informing him or her there is a need to increase spending. While many could crack under this kind of pressure, a great project manager would keep cool and see this as an opportunity to show a C-level partner the extent of his professionalism.
If one aspect of a project falls short, it throws off the entire timeline. That’s why a successful project manager must be able to anticipate the disconnect and provide immediate support, whether that means completing the task himself or delegating it to a capable teammate. Delegating a task doesn’t mean you’re a bad leader, though. Successful delegation is also key to a smooth project and shows how effectively you’re able to plan and manage someone else’s assignment. Think of a project as a game, and the manager as the captain of the team. If a ball is about to drop, the captain needs to either grab it before it falls or call on someone else to catch it.
Best-selling author Bernard Marr explained in a LinkedIn article on project management traits that empathy creates trust in the workplace. While showing sympathy to an employee who feels overworked could satisfy him or her temporarily, it could also unintentionally excuse a lower quality of work. By showing empathy instead, you’re assuring the employee that you understand the frustrations and concerns because you have experienced them firsthand. When you’re seen as an understanding, relatable equal, you’re bound to get higher-quality work and more respect. As a result, your project will be more successful as well.
It’s no secret that the better your presentation skills, the better your leadership skills (at least, the better you’re perceived). Good communication skills will take you very far in your job search. A University of Alabama study reported that high-quality oral communication was the most important trait for business students in the office. For example, reconsider the CEO example from earlier. A successful project manager would need to effectively present the issue of resources to a client. Speaking with confidence, relating to the client and including a case study of what could happen with insufficient resources are all communicative techniques that could make a mediocre project manager great. If the issue was presented poorly, the result could be catastrophic.
While it’s key to be a great communicator, it’s important to be an even better listener. When interviewing with a recruiter, be sure to demonstrate excellent listening skills, since he or she will undoubtedly search for them. For starters, you need to understand what the project requires. If you can’t define the needs and goals of your client, you won’t be able to properly guide your team and your project will not be successful. From there, if a team member voices a concern, you must be able to digest what that actually means. Do you need to re-evaluate the terms? Should you add resources? A good project manager would be able to listen to his team and judge what actually needs to be done to complete the project.
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