6 Essential Skills for Project Managers

Learn How to Effectively Manage Projects and Teams

Project Managers need interpersonal, organization and problem solving skills.
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Project managers have a unique skill set. They have the responsibility of planning, procuring, and executing a project, making sure everything is on track and that everyone involved is working to their full potential. If there are any issues, delays, or problems, the project manager is the point person to work with the client or company to review how to fix it. They often are not involved in the nitty-gritty work, but instead, make sure progress is being made and keeps everyone on task.

Skills for Project Managers

Here is a list of six must-have skills for any project manager, regardless of industry:

  1. Communication: Most of your time as a project manager will be spent communicating, either working with staff, reporting progress or problems to the client or negotiating with vendors. Verbal and written communication skills are key to your success. You may be called on often to give presentations, so you must also be comfortable using presentation software and public speaking in front of large groups. 
  2. Leadership: Many project managers have highly technical skills, but struggle to succeed due to a lack of leadership ability. Your ability to lead and motivate is critical in progressing any project, from the construction of a new building to the development of a new program. 
  3. Team management: To work effectively, you need to be able to manage teams. From delegating work to holding individuals accountable, it's your responsibility to set goals, evaluate performance, and encourage collaboration. 
  1. Negotiation: Negotiating effectively is another important skill for project managers. You will negotiate with clients on an appropriate schedule and scope of work. You will bargain for certain resources and manpower. Knowing how to negotiate to get what you need to succeed and keep everyone involved satisfied is an art form. 
  1. Organization: Project managers are known for their incredible organization; very few project managers can be successful if they are sloppy or forgetful. Because you are juggling so many different aspects, you need to be organized in both your professional and personal life. Spend some time coming up with an organizational system, whether it's an electronic note-taker or a paper planner, to keep all of the details​ on top of mind.
  2. Risk management: As a project manager, issues will come up. It's your duty to predict potential problems in advance and brainstorm solutions in case these issues arise. Having backup plans and alternatives at your fingertips will prevent costly delays and will keep your work on track. Most risks are not urgent if they are anticipated; it's only when project managers are caught by surprise that minor issues turn into major setbacks.

Project managers play a key role in the launch of new products, the construction of new sites and the development of new programs. They streamline the process, manage the work of dozens or even hundreds of people and keep production on time. It requires extensive skills, including communication and organization, to succeed.