Many of us have dealt with this scenario, where we’ve spent 50-60 hours hiring a project manager who looks good on paper but performs poorly on the job. What is the cost of hiring an unfit Project Manager to run your project? Damage to your reputation in the company, budget, and timeline overrun, and potentially unsuccessful project go-live. After interviewing 150 top project management consultants, I’ve found 3 subtle personality traits that differentiate a good project manager for a super effective Project Manager. Look for these 3 traits in your next hire to increase your project success.
1. Effective Project Managers are great salesmen: In addition to managing the triple constraints, effective project managers continuously remind and sell the importance of completing the project. Too often I see Project Managers driving projects based on timeline and budget and not based on its importance or benefits. Large and complex projects require strong commitments from both the team members and the management for success. By repeatedly highlighting the importance, commitments stay strong, motivation and morale stay high, and everyone works around the aligned benefit/importance versus aligned task or timeline. All in all, things get done on time and on the budget.
2) They are very transparent with their supervisors: Effective project managers are fearless in providing direct feedback to their management. Whether a team member or the management is performing poorly, effective project managers will have open and direct conversations regarding the challenges. These type of conversations enable and empower the management team to resolve roadblocks in a timely manner. In my experience, I have seen many instances where project status turns from green to red within a week. This occurs when Project Managers are trying to protect their or someone else’s reputation and not communicating challenges openly with the management. Effective project managers, communicate, communicate and over communicate.
3) Effective Project Managers are good at managing emotions: The journey of a project can be compared to the married life. First few months is the “honeymoon phase”, team members get to know each other and get along. However, during the “execution phase”, team dynamics can become toxic with missed deadlines, scope changes, and other project uncertainties. In moments like this, effective project managers know how to keep the emotions down, be objective, and continue to move the projects forward. They tend to pay extra attention to the tonality of team members and set up one-on-one to reduce any frictions.
Project managers continuously work with new project teams. And with the new millennials in the workforce, these skills are essential than ever.