Skills and Personality Traits of Successful Project Managers Essay

There are many variables and risks involved in project management, from unmotivated employees to cultural differences to working in the virtual team environment, which makes the career tough and demanding.

But it can also be very rewarding. There are ways to be successful in program management, but there is no a simple solution such as a + b = c; at best there are guidelines that one can look to for help. This paper provides an overview of project management, and what skills, abilities, and personality traits it takes to be a successful project manager.We illustrate that a project manager role is not suited for everyone, but for those interested in pursuing the career there are skills and abilities that one can develop which will increase job satisfaction. For instance, you must know the ins and outs of all of your team members as well as stakeholders; be able to communicate effectively, which can include breaking bad news to management, or resolving team conflict; and form a functional team and build team identity; all while creating, producing, and delivering a product on schedule, under budget, and to customer satisfaction.

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Project managers are successful when they share the qualities of a leader: they listen, communicate, and are able to direct their team to the ultimate objective of producing a successful project. Project Management is a fast growing field. According to the Project Management Talent Gap Report issued by the Project Management Institute, it is expected that globally by 2020, there will be “15. Million new project management roles” created, and that the “project management profession is slated to grow by SAID$6. 61 trillion. ” Within the United States, the demand for project managers is expected to increase by 12 percent, “resulting in almost 6.

2 million jobs by 2020″ and matched with a “37 percent increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GAP) of project-intensive industries bringing the profession to $5. 81 trillion. ” Elevation, in her article, “Project ManagementSalaries Show Earnings Growth, Career Potential,” says that while project management may not be as glamorous of a job in the IT field as for instance software developers or information security professionals, as of 2012 project managers who have held Project Management Certification (PM) for five to ten years earn “a median base salary’ of $113,000,” while those who have maintained it for ten to twenty years earn $120,000. According to Whether, in January of 201 1 , the Product Management Institute had “over 412,503 active Project Management Professionals (Amps) and 334,019 members”; inSeptember of 2006 the numbers for both were around 200,000. However, despite the rapid growth of professionals in the field and the increasing demand within a variety of industries for their expertise, project management is not a career suitable for everyone. In this prepare look to explore the skills, talents, and leadership abilities that that provide the most potential for an individual to excel in the project manager role, particularly In an increasingly globalizes economic market.For the first time, in 201 2 the Standish Group included emotional maturity in their CHAOS report as one of the critical success factors for an IT project.

In his article, “IT Success and Failure – the Standish Group CHAOS Report Success Factors,” Carroll points out that the Standish Group’s “analysis of emotional maturity is largely about character and behavior,” and the fact that it’s ranked fourth (only executive support, user involvement, and clear business objectives are higher) sends the message that “at one level technical stuff will get done if and only if you have competent people actually doing it it’s make or break. He goes on to summarize, “good people who know what they are trying to achieve, with good involvement & communication with ho they’re achieving it for, when well-supported, will succeed if success is possible. ” “Competent’ is the key trait, but what skills define it? Scalable states, “Achieving high performance on projects requires soft skills, otherwise called human relations skills.Some of these skills include effective communication, influencing the organization to get things done, leadership, motivation, negotiation, conflict management, and problem solving. ” (201 1, p. 23).

In today’s economic market, though, there is more emphasis on globalization than in the past, with stakeholders and/or project teams being increasingly parade out over different parts of the company, different cities, and possibly even different countries, all interacting in a virtual office environment.As a result, not only do project managers need the abilities listed by Scalable, but may also need to be cognizant of cultural differences, both national and within the organizational boundaries; be able to lead and motivate team members possibly working in different time zones and/or speaking other languages; and build a team and successfully complete a project when members may be located thousands of miles apart and have limited or no hysterical access to each other.Before beginning the discussion about what skills and characteristics a project manager should possess, it’s good to summarize those that may indicate that one is not suited for the role. A project manager may have good skills but still have poor performance with his or her project success rates.Mochas lists in his article, “10 Signs You Aren’t Cut Out to Be a Project Manager” the following, which may suggest one is best suited for something other than project management: * You are a poor communicator * You don’t work well with people * You prefer the details You don’t like to manage people * You don’t like to follow processes * You don’t like to document things * You like to execute and not plan * You prefer to be an order taker * You are not organized * You think project management is “overhead” The lists of traits that a person needs to be successful, and happy, in project management are lengthy enough to fill books, but there are several that continually float to the tops of the lists and stand out. Briefly they can be summarized as the opposite of those listed above: project management is a career best suited for someone organized, detail oriented, level headed, reactive, a problem solver, a critical thinker, and, as Project Manage This so succinctly states, a facilitator: “it’s not about you. Ever. You motivate your teams, inspire confidence and make sure the people around you have what they need to do their job and do their job well.

” So what are the most commonly mentioned skills and characteristics that increase ones chances of becoming an effective project manager?At or near the top of nearly every list is skill with communication. Proficient reporting to shareholders, customers, vendors, and everyone vested in the project goes ended providing timely status updates to the correct people; for instance, one must also master the art of delivering bad news at times, also in a timely manner and within the proper channels. Cohen-Variable states, “whatever it takes, great project managers have the communication skills to get their message across and keep a project from going under. ” Communication abilities also include negotiating, persuading, arbitrating, directing team members, and a skill many find difficult: listening.Project Manage This summarizes, “you think before you talk.

… You listen, you hear what was said, oh respond effectively and with insight…. You build relationships.

” Communication is important not only with the shareholders and customers, but within the team dynamic as well, and can be complicated by globalization and the increased use of virtual teams. Team members may be working on several projects at once, may report primarily to a functional manager, may not be co-located, or a project manager may be working under other less- than-ideal conditions for team building, all within the constraints of the project schedule, budget, and meeting the customer’s needs.As is mentioned n conflict resolution below, cultural differences can factor greatly into the communication dynamic as well, be it language barriers or simply behavior differences, such as the emphasis one culture may put on small talk before getting down to business. In order to build the trust and cohesiveness of the team, a project manager must be comfortable and adept at keeping communication open and flowing through status meetings and informal face- to-face contact. A variety of skills fall into the umbrella term “leadership abilities. ” The project manager is responsible for acquiring, developing, and managing the project am, and there have been many studies done on the best ways to manage and motivate team members (see Appendix A).

One such tool for managing the team vision is suggested by Riley in her article “Six Leadership Skills for Project Managers”: developing “a structured outline Of the project vision for the team. Each person should be clear of the direction, the timing and how you plan on reaching project success. ” What is important is for a project manager to understand is what type of influence and power will work best in different situations, and much of that is tied back into communication as well as experience.

For example, in Stephen Coveys Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he states in habit five to “seek first to understand, then to be understood,” which can make the different from being merely an average project manager to being a good project manager (Scalable, 2011, p. 350-51).Getting team members to talk and listening to them empathetically can help the project manager understand their needs and thus what can be done to help or motivate them.

It can be a challenge, though, for a project manager to apply motivational theories to their team members while also operating within organizational boundaries. Skill and experience come into play with knowing how to motivate given the opportunities that are available, for instance by establishing a team identity, but without inadvertently having the opposite effect, such as by rewarding outstanding accomplishments but repeatedly giving the same few team members the opportunity to achieve and thus creating dissent among the rest of the team.Conflict resolution is an important leadership skill, and can be tricky, especially if the conflict is a function of a misunderstanding of cultural norms. Larson and Gray point out that “American project managers have earned a petition abroad for being very good at understanding technology but not good at understanding people [I.

E. Cultural differences]…. For example, Americans tend to underestimate the importance that relationship building plays in conducting business in other countries.

” (201, p. 542). Project managers must have good people skills in order to manage dysfunctional conflict among team members, which can be difficult to identify and diffuse in the best of circumstances, but can become very complicated when it involves cultural differences.For example, in India people do not like to use the word no,” and will instead offer alternatives or a response they may think one wants to hear; they also value business relationships highly, so tend to include small talk; and decision-making is done by the person with the most authority.

These are attributes that can be exasperating for team members or a team leader looking for a quick response, and can further tension on a team already dealing with project pressures. Conflict on a project, however, can also be a good by way of producing new ideas, better alternatives, and motivation to work harder. Baker states as one of his characteristics of a great project manager, “exercise independent and air consensus-building skills when conflict arises.But embrace only as much conflict as is absolutely necessary, neither avoiding not seeking grounds for control Of a particular project segment. ” He then adds for the next characteristic to “cultivate and rely on extensive informal networks inside and outside the firm to solve problems that arise. ” A skilled project manager must be able to foster functional conflict and, very importantly, not become defensive during debates. Listening and negotiating skills, and being able to allow team members their opinion while being able to protect those opinions room other team members round out abilities needed to promote healthy conflict.

It can be a fine line for a project manager to distinguish when functional conflict has crossed over into dysfunctional conflict.When dysfunctional conflict within a team has been identified, and productivity is suffering as a result of it, a project manager must have strong communication and leadership skills to navigate through the situation. Scalable describes six mechanisms for dealing with the individuals: Confrontation, which is using a problem-solving approach to working through the conflict; Compromise, or using a give-and-take approach; Smoothing, or voiding areas of disagreement and stressing areas of agreement; Forcing, or exerting their authority to bring about resolution; Withdrawal, which is retreating or avoiding the problem; and lastly Collaboration, in which the team members in conflict develop and commit to a consensus. (201 1, page 400).

Larson and Gray describe five similar strategies for dealing with conflict: Mediate, or intervene to negotiate a resolution; Arbitrate, or impose a solution after hearing the grievances; Control, which is similar to Seawall?s Smoothing above; Accept; and Eliminate, whereby one or all team members n conflict are removed from the project. (2011, Page 398). It’s easy to see the role good communication skills play in these approaches, but some other, perhaps less obvious skills include humor, which can be key in diffusing tense moments, and patience. It can take time to resolve a conflict and during that time the pressures of the project continue to increase. Cohen-Variable in her article, “Five Traits of Great Project Managers,” also mentions the more abstract trait of stability: “great project managers bring stability to projects.

They’re calm, level-headed presence in the midst of a frenzy of activity, and hey can be counted on to be consistent in their principles. A project manager often leads by example, so personal characteristics such as integrity, enthusiasm, cool under pressure, lead by example, competence, and decisiveness round out the professionals’ top characteristic lists. These are characteristics that inspire trust in the project team – and the stakeholders -? and are strong leadership skills. Without trust in their project manager, and having a fear of conflict, a lack of commitment to the project, an avoidance of accountability, and sloppy attention to detail, a team has a gig probability in becoming dysfunctional, which will negatively affect the project success. In order to ensure the productivity of the team, Scalable suggests the following: * Be patient and kind with your team.Assume the best about people; do not assume your team members are lazy and careless.

* Fix the problem instead of blaming people. Help people work out problems by focusing behavior. * Establish regular, effective meetings. Focus on meeting project objectives by focusing on behavior. * Allow time for teams to go through the basic team-building stages of forming, storming, morning, reforming, and adjourning. Don’t expect teams to work at the highest performance level right away. * Limit the size of work teams to three to seven members.

* plan some social activities to help project team members and other stakeholders get to know each other better.Make the social events fun and not mandatory. * Stress team identity. Create traditions that team members enjoy. * Nurture team members and encourage them to help each other. Identify and provide training that will help individuals and the team as a whole become more effective. * Acknowledge individual and group accomplishments.

Take additional actions to work with virtual team members. If possible, have a face-to-face or phone meeting at the start of a virtual project or when introducing a virtual team member. Screen people carefully to make sure they can work effectively in a virtual environment. Clarify how virtual team members will communicate.

(2011, page 370).A project manager also must maintain the trust of the stakeholders, customers, and vendors; it is the project manager’s leadership skills and personality traits that, along with his or her ability to initiate, plan, and monitor and control the processes, will make the project a success. See Appendices B and C. ) In conclusion, project management is a relatively new and fast growing, lucrative field. It is attracting individuals through regular career development and those graduating with under- and postgraduate degrees. However, success in the industry is not wholly tied to knowledge and on the job training. We looked at the skills, talents, and leadership abilities that provide the most potential for an individual to excel in the project manager role, particularly in an increasingly globalizes economic market.

We discussed some specific skills and talents, such as communication and conflict solution, along with some more generalized leadership abilities that will enhance team building and productivity, and will also enhance the organization, stakeholders, and customers’ confidence in the project manager’s ability to produce a successful project. These are the skills, talents, and abilities that are in addition to the basic ones every team member must have without exception: the abilities to guide a project that meets customer satisfaction through the initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing processes in a way that adds value to the organization.The points discussed in this paper are ones that have been mentioned by various experts as being among the most important skills, traits, and abilities that a project manager must possess in order to be successful in their position, and also be happy and therefore enthusiastic about what they do. All.

(n. D. ) Know Before You Go: Cultural Norms in India. Global Becalms. Retrieved from http://Venn.

Culpableness. Com/blob/know-you-go-cultural- norms-India A travel company specializing in customized experiences for independent travelers. The organization focuses on unique destinations and ultra experiences, and strives to be the leading experts in CEO-travel, sustainable tourism, ecological preservation, and cultural education.