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Top 10 Essential Competencies For Project Managers

Updated on September 12, 2017
MKishor profile image

Kishor has years of working experience in software industries focusing on Agile and Project Management, A PMP & CSM certified professional.

What are the important qualities you should have as a project manager while managing the projects? What should be your utmost priority and how can you do the justice to your work? How can you handle the conflicts in the team when your project is at the crucial stage?

There are many such questions comes to our mind when we think about project managers and their roles and responsibilities. It may look like these questions are very simple and easy to answer but at times it is a tough nut to crack. Actually, project managers are the bus drivers whose job is to drive the buses carefully to its destination carrying all the passengers. But they are just the driver, not the owners, the owners can pull them down when they found you are incapable of driving further.

Les's discuss the top 10 competencies of Project Managers that every organization expects from their project managers.

1. Project Managers are great Leader

Every organization wants their project managers should be exceptional on leading the project from the front. The project managers should be capable of showing the right direction, not only to his subordinates but also all the stakeholders associated with the project including the program manager and portfolio manager.

Project Management is a vast area where you need to apply your skills, knowledge, proven processes, tools and techniques to successfully managing the projects. The main intention is to deliver a substantial value to the client at the end of each project. The Project managers are responsible for leading the team to achieve those objectives.

2. Project Managers are brilliant sculptor in building the team

You should be exceptional in team building. It is an important process for the success of your project. Though the team building activities are highly essential at the early stages of the team formation, but it is a continual process to keep on doing throughout all the stages.

Basically, there are 5 stages in which any team passes through. They are:

Forming: It is the inception stage where the team meets each other and starts understanding their role and responsibilities. They behave like an independent entity rather than a team.

Storming: This is the next phase, where the team starts addressing the project work. There is technical discussion happens to shape of the project work. The Project manager should be more vigilant in this phase as differencing in ideas of team members can create conflicts.

Norming: This is the normalization period where the team members start to work together as a team. By the time they know each other well, so ready to accept and support others.

Performing: This is the best phase, the team gives their best work as an organized unit. They care about the work and co-operate each other for the project's success.

Adjourning: It is the last phase, where the team completes their work and release from the project to work on another project.

As a project manager, you should be aware of the importance of each phase and plan accordingly to build a great team.

3. Project Managers are great Motivator

Motivation is what your team needs at regular periods to carry the project work with full of enthusiasms. At times, due to excessive work pressure, disturbing family life, conflicts in the team or doing the routine works for a longer period, or there can be any other such issues which demoralize the team. As a project manager, you need to uplift the mood of the team by giving proper attention to their worries.

There are many factors which keep motivating the team to stay focus on the project goals; that may be the job satisfaction, challenging work, fair and better HR policies, standard compensations matching with their peers working in similar industries, and timely reward and recognition for the good work.

4. Project Managers are exceptional Communicator

Communication is one of the important pillars on which your project stands. There are stakeholders who need regular updates from you on the project's progress, and the team needs clear instructions to carry out the project work. Effective and accurate communication using various technologies is the key to keeping the engagement alive.

5. Project Managers are great Influencer

As a project manager, you should have the talent to influence your stakeholders so that the impediments on the path of your projects can be resolved amicably. This is more requiring in case you are working in a matrix organization where you do not have the complete authority over the project resources including the team members.

6. Project Managers are excellent Negotiator

Similarly, as a project manager, you should have the negotiation skills to deal with operation managers or other department heads while working in a matrix organization. Also, in the normal project cycle, there are many situations arises where you need to negotiate for the benefit of your project, whether with any team member or the vendors who are related to your project.

7. Project Managers are exceptionally well in Conflict Management

Conflicts in the team are something that you cannot avoid where everybody has his/her own opinions and thinking. But, as a project manager, you should know the ways to facilitate the satisfactory resolution of every conflict.

You should know where to apply which techniques to douse the fire of conflicts. At times you may step back for a while, to allow the team to resolve their conflicts by their own. While sometimes you need to dive in to resolve the issues actively. But, when the conflicts are hampering your project's progress it's better to deal those with an iron hand. Again, it is you who can judge the situation and accordingly deal with it for the benefit of the project.

8. They are the Coach

As a project manager, you should have the ability to coach the team when necessary. It doesn't mean that you should be master of all the technology. That may not be possible always. But, whenever the team requires the training, your responsibility is to arrange the require training for them either internally or hiring the external trainers.

You should be alert enough to observe the technical skills of the team member. And when they are lacking any skills which slowing down the progress of the project, arrange the require training without any delay. Also, keep taking regular feedback from the team to know their training needs and plan the training accordingly.

9. Project Managers are great Decision Maker

As a project manager, it is important to take right decisions at right time. One wrong decision can derail your project's progress. So, effective decision making is the mantra for your success.

While taking the decisions, it is important to consider few important points for the benefit of the project, such as:

  • The project goals should not be affected
  • Safeguard the team morale
  • Decisions should be in the interest of the project not for the individuals
  • Analyze and make a plan to deal with the post implementation effects

After making the decision stick to it, if you really think that it is made for the benefit of the projects. Do not change the decisions just fearing that your boss will be unhappy.

10. They are the Trust Builder

Trust is something which requires where two or more people lives or work together, whether it is your personal family or your project team. So, it is important to take exemplary steps to build the trust and continue the trust factors in the team.

Once the trust has broken, then the conflict rises in the team which leads to attrition. Transparency is another aspect which grows trust in the team. So, it is important to lead by example, maintain transparency as much as possible and keep building the trust in the team for a smooth sailing of your project towards the path of success.

Do you think these competencies can help you as a project Manager?

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© 2017 Kishor Mohanty

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