8 Qualities of a Successful Project Manager (With Tips)

Updated September 25, 2023

There are several qualities that effective project managers share that increase their overall success in leading and managing projects and teams. Key qualities include strong communication and leadership skills as well as problem-solving skills.

In this article, we explore the top eight qualities that successful project managers have and how you can work on fostering these qualities within yourself to improve your effectiveness as a project manager.

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What is a project manager?

A project manager is a professional who is responsible for all aspects of a project from start to finish. Project managers plan, execute and oversee projects and are often the first point of contact for any issues that may arise throughout this process. As a project manager, you will likely be responsible for a team that you delegate and assign tasks to complete a project.

Common responsibilities of a project manager include:

  • Establishing and communicating project objectives

  • Procuring any needs for the project, such as materials, teams and technology

  • Developing timelines and schedules for the completion of the project

  • Managing the quality, time and cost of the project

  • Overseeing all work done as part of the project

  • Identifying and managing project stakeholders

  • Closing the project and ensuring all objectives have been met

Related: Understanding the Project Management Processes and Phases

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8 qualities of an effective project manager

Regardless of the industry that you work in, if you want to be a successful project manager there are several qualities you should possess. While project management does require certain technical skills, having these soft skills can boost your success and set you apart in your workplace. The following are the eight key attributes that effective project managers share:

1. Leadership skills

Successful project management requires strong leadership skills on behalf of the manager overseeing the project. As a project manager, you must be able to effectively lead your team from start to finish to ensure the efficient completion of a project. Being a good leader means that you can motivate your team to perform at their best throughout the project and ensure all team members have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. You should also be able to assess your team’s strengths and weaknesses and decide how to best utilize them throughout the project completion process.

Read more: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

2. Communication skills

Effective project management requires clear and competent communication about the expectations, goals and responsibilities of the team who will be completing the project. Being able to efficiently communicate with your team as well as clients and management can ensure that everyone is of the same understanding regarding project expectations. Good communication skills also allow you to provide constructive feedback to your team to better guide them. Both written and oral communication skills are important for project managers to have.

Related: Essential Business Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

3. Problem-solving skills

Successful project managers should be able to solve a variety of problems throughout all stages of a project. Issues that may need to be solved could involve team members, clients or stakeholders related to the project. Being able to think on your feet and address disputes and problems is key to ensuring the project is completed in an efficient and timely manner.

Related: 12 Approaches To Problem-Solving for Every Situation

4. Delegation skills

Being able to assign and oversee tasks is a fundamental component of successful project management. As the project manager, you should have the ability to access the skills of your team and sign tasks based on these skills. Effective delegation also requires you to trust your team members to fulfill their duties and allows you to avoid micromanaging them.

Related: How To Improve Your Delegation Skills in 7 Steps

5. Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is an important part of being a good project manager because it shows your team that you believe in the project and has confidence in your team’s ability to complete it. Being enthusiastic can also help keep team members motivated and in a positive state of mind while working on their assigned tasks.

6. Team-building skills

Being a good team builder can help you bring a successful team together that works as a unit to complete a project. Leading your team towards a common purpose and keeping the enthusiasm and motivation alive throughout the entire project will make you a better project manager and leader.

Related: Team Working vs. Team Building: Similarities and Differences

7. Integrity

Integrity, sometimes also referred to as loyalty or honesty, is an important quality for a project manager to have. Integrity can help you set a good example for your team and make them more likely to follow that example. It also shows your team that you are committed to the project and are willing to see it through to the end at all costs. Integrity additionally fosters trust from your team and promotes an ethical and responsible work environment.

Related: How to Maintain Professional Integrity in the Workplace

8. Competence

Being competent in project management can promote both a sense of trust and authority in your team. Knowing how to effectively and competently lead your team is key to the overall success of project completion. However, another important part of competency is knowing when you aren’t an expert in a certain field and that the ability to ask for help when it is needed.

Related: Competence vs. Competency: What's the Difference?

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Tips for improving your skills as a project manager

To become a better project manager, you should work on the qualities mentioned above regularly. Whether you are a new project manager or have been in a management position for a while, the following tips can help you further develop your abilities as a project manager.

1. Make your projects less complicated

Overcomplicating a project can lead to confusion among your team and decrease the efficiency in which the project is completed. A complicated project can also be more challenging to effectively communicate with key players and team members. Keeping your projects as simple as possible can streamline the process and ensure everyone understands their roles.

2. Regularly communicate with your team

Keeping lines of communication open with your team can ensure your team fully understands what is expected of them at all times. It can also help your team feel that they can approach you if a problem were to arise. Communicating changes is also important in project management and can prevent new tools or software from failing once implemented.

3. Set and stick to realistic expectations

Setting expectations for a project is often one of the first steps in the completion process. This includes making sure your team members know what they are responsible for and when they should have it done. Once expectations have been set, stick to these expectations no matter what. The more you waiver, the more likely your team will be to try to cut corners or turn in tasks late.

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