Resumes & Cover Letters

11 Important Project Management Soft Skills

February 22, 2021

Project managers use their technical skills to measure project progress, develop budget break downs and create project operations. While project managers need strong technical skills to do their job effectively, having specific soft skills is important too. These are the people skills that can help project managers effectively manage their team and ensure they are keeping clients happy. In this article, we discuss the importance of soft skills for project managers and include a list of soft skills they need to succeed.

Related: Understanding the Project Management Processes and Phases

Why are soft skills important for project managers?

Project managers having soft skills is an important part of building a collaborative team. When project managers exhibit strong leadership and motivation skills, they can lead their team to success. Another reason soft skills are so important for a project manager to have is that they are often meeting with clients. These skills can help project managers fulfill their clients' needs and build a good rapport.

Related: A Complete Guide to Project Management

What is a project manager responsible for?

A project manager is responsible for the planning, execution and completion of projects. They need to consider things, such as budgets, timelines, resources and task management. Along with working closely with clients, they need to lead their own team of professionals, ensuring they are completing projects effectively and efficiently. Someone in this role needs a strong mix of technical skills and soft skills.

Related: How to Create a Project Management Plan

11 important soft skills for a project manager to have

Here are the most important project management soft skills to have:

Communication

Verbal and written communication are integral skills for any project manager to have. Someone in this role is constantly communicating with colleagues and clients through all sorts of channels. Along with being an effective speaker during in-person meetings, phone calls or video calls, a project manager needs to clearly convey their ideas through direct message, email, text message and other written forms of communication.

Related: 10 Communication Skills to Add to Your Resume

Leadership

When project managers need to train their team on the most technical aspects of the job, they need to have strong leadership skills. An effective leader is someone who can address the needs of their team and ensure they are supplying the resources their team needs to succeed. Leadership skills involve goal-setting, professional development, mentorship and any other ways you can support your team members' growth.

Decision-making

As a manager, you need the ability to make fast and effective decisions for your team. A major part of the decision-making process is considering all of the variables and outcomes of a situation. For instance, quality project managers determine how a decision may affect the company, their clients and their team members. You also need to think of how you're going to implement your decision and whether it is feasible based on your resources or constraints.

Problem-solving

When managing the operations of a project, issues are going to arise every so often. A project manager needs to take a solutions-based approach whenever they experience a challenge or obstacle. Seeing a challenge as an opportunity rather than a barrier is one way you might improve your problem-solving skills.

Conflict-management

Being able to manage conflicts among your team and clients is an important part of this job. Having interpersonal skills can help you assess a conflict and come up with a solution. Sometimes, you might have to help your team come to a mutual understanding when an argument arises. Even being able to diffuse tense situations can help you maintain a harmonious work environment.

Motivation

Keeping your team's motivation levels up is an important responsibility project managers have. You need to be able to find strategies to keep production and employee morale high. Creating some kind of reward system might be one strategy. Likewise, positive feedback and praise can give employees the boost they need to continue to care about their work.

Relationship-building

Project managers need to be able to build meaningful relationships with both their team members and their clients. By being someone who encourages your team to do their best, you can establish respect and trust among your team. You may also need to implement team-building activities to foster strong relationships between your colleagues. Likewise, when building a relationship with a client, it's important to be an effective communicator and show that you value their time.

Strong work ethic

There are a lot of moving parts to this career path. A project manager needs the drive and focus to get all of their work done on time. Having a strong work ethic is vital to doing well in this role. When working as a project manager, you may need to put in more time and effort than your team members.

Organization

Keeping your responsibilities and projects in order is a necessity for this job. Along with managing your own tasks, you need the skills to ensure your team is staying on track. Project managers can stay organized by doing check-ins with their team and making their expectations clear.

Adaptability

Sometimes a project doesn't go as you planned it. That's why project managers need to be flexible to changing situations. By having the ability to adapt and overcome problems that arise, you can lead your team to success. This may involve coming up with a new plan of action or tapping into other resources to get the project done.

Related: Adaptability in the Workplace: Benefits and Importance

Time management

When working in project management, most things are time-sensitive. That's why it's so important to have strong time management skills. Setting timelines, milestones and goals is a major part of this role. If you notice your team members are falling behind, you need to be able to come up with strategies to get them back on track.

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