What are the interpersonal skills that every project manager should possess?
To help you identify the interpersonal skills you need to be effective as a project manager, we asked successful project managers and business leaders this question for their best insights. From diligence and conscientiousness to team-building skills, there are several interpersonal skills that are considered essential for every project manager to be successful.
Here are 15 interpersonal skills these leaders possess as project managers:
- Diligence and Conscientiousness
- Good Communication Skills
- Ability to Influence Others Positively
- Strong Leadership Abilities
- Receptiveness to Feedback
- Able to Provide Constructive Criticism
- Ability to Adapt Quickly
- Being Humble
- Ability to Mentor Others
- Collaboration Skills
- Leading With Kindness
- Good at Organizing and Multitasking
- Ability to Engage With Others Effectively
- Being Resilient to Failure
- Team-Building Skills
Diligence and Conscientiousness
Being diligent and conscientious is an essential interpersonal skill for project managers. This means being able to pay attention to detail, keeping track of deadlines, and ensuring that all team members are on the same page. In addition, it is crucial to be able to communicate effectively with team members and stakeholders. This involves being able to listen to others, offer constructive feedback, and constructively resolve conflict. Those who are diligent and conscientious project managers will find that they can successfully complete projects on time and within budget. As a result, this essential skill should not be overlooked.
Good Communication Skills
Good communication is probably the most important skill for any project manager to possess. Managing a team and being head of a project requires you to be able to work with others, and a lack of communication can lead to any number of problems. A project manager is responsible for the whole team, this means they are responsible for letting everyone know what they need to do and providing effective feedback. Good communication skills help make this process as clear as possible so there are no misunderstandings or confusion.
Ability to Influence Others Positively
In a modern, matrixed workplace with little overt hierarchy or direct lines of power, a Project Manager’s role is as much about bringing people together as it is about seeing a project through. With very few levers of power at their disposal, Project Managers must influence teams and independent contributors to get the results they need. The best technical skills and strategic vision become redundant unless a PM can influence people. The ability to build relationships across functions, departments, and organizations is a key skill in making such indirect influence happen. Without high emotional intelligence and the ability to complete transactions without seeming “transactional,” a Project Manager will find their key deliverables unfinished and crucial emails unanswered. If hiring, probe for signs of such EQ through behavioral questions. If looking to be hired, highlight key stories that display it.
Strong Leadership Abilities
A good project manager should be a vital contributor to the team and an individual with strong leadership abilities. Taking charge when circumstances call for it is an essential skill. A project manager must be able to contribute significantly to the team’s work. It is necessary to have the ability to amass information and respond appropriately to any feedback received. The team leader needs to have strong communication skills, both with the other team members and the managers, as well as with the customers. Quickly resolving conflicts between team members or customers is an essential characteristic of a good manager.
Jacob Dayan, Co-founder and CEO, Community Tax
Receptiveness to Feedback
Receptiveness to feedback. Managers shouldn’t just be giving it out; they also need to be able to take it. If you want to be a strong leader, it’s important to be able to hear constructive feedback and implement it. A good manager knows that to have a truly successful team, you have to be open and willing to change when your processes or behavior are no longer serving you.
Able to Provide Constructive Criticism
Project managers should be able to provide constructive criticism to those they supervise. While it may feel awkward and too confrontational, constructive criticism must be made to avoid errors and issues in completing projects. Furthermore, it can be done tactfully. For example, if an employee is working too slowly on a project, the project manager can advise the employee not to worry too much about perfectionism because time is more critical.
Ability to Adapt Quickly
Project managers that can adjust to unexpected changes and obstacles ascend to the top and bring their teams with them. Versatile project managers can think independently and alter expectations and plans as needed. They should anticipate potential difficulties and plan ahead of time for strategies to deal with problems that may arise in the future. Generally, becoming more adaptive requires a mental shift. The project managers should recognize that things may not go as planned and be mentally prepared for obstacles.
Muskan Rai, Writer, HostingRevelations
Humility. The ability to admit one’s own mistakes is something that shouldn’t be undervalued. The ability to admit weaknesses is a strength that inspires others to do the same. Additionally, teams feel comfortable working for those that are able to be vulnerable. Employees won’t feel pressured knowing that their boss understands imperfections and can empathize. In turn, teams are more productive and creative.
Ability to Mentor Others
I think the most important interpersonal skill any project manager can have is the ability to be a good mentor. As a project manager, you are often the person who people look to for answers. If you can provide mentorship and guidance as part of that role, then you will be seen as more than just someone good at managing projects but also someone who is able to give advice and support team members when they need it, in a way that doesn’t come across as pushy or overbearing or making them feel like they are being criticized. I think if you can do that, then it will be much easier to get buy-in from your team members and make them feel valued.
Every project manager should have solid collaboration skills. They should be able to work with team members to reach a common end goal. This creates efficiency and a standard practice of every project to run smoothly. In doing so, the team will be more productive and engaged with the task at hand and more willing to bounce ideas off each other.
Leading With Kindness
‘Kindness rules’ isn’t just a slogan. Leading with kindness means leading with compassion and empathy. Doing so creates a connected team that not only respects you but will likely begin to feel like a family working towards a common goal. As a bonus, a kind leader is one that has a team of dedicated employees that stick around.
Good at Organizing and Multitasking
Project managers must be excellent organizers to stay on top of multiple projects and deadlines while managing teams and client communications. Businesses expect these professionals to execute projects and client relationships diligently, necessitating minimal mistakes and staying on top of evolving client needs.
In some sense, there isn’t another role that relies so much on accuracy and maintaining a professional air as project managers. They uniquely coordinate expectations and tasks between teams, clients, and their bosses and are relied on to be effective liaisons. Project managers are also responsible for budgeting appropriately for short- and long-term projects. Mistakes cost their companies and clients time, so they are particularly under pressure to keep their work in systematic order.
Ability to Engage With Others Effectively
The ability to effectively communicate with others is an essential interpersonal skill for project managers. They must be able to clearly and concisely convey information to project team members, stakeholders, and other relevant parties. Additionally, they must be able to listen attentively and understand the needs and concerns of others. Good communication skills are necessary for building trust, fostering collaboration, and resolving conflicts.
Being Resilient to Failure
Any reference to failure may seem like the wrong thing to add to a list that speaks of a project manager’s strengths, but anyone who has witnessed the unraveling of a project will know that failure, whether frequent or intermittent, is indeed an integral part of the process. Only the ability to show resilience in the face of failure and immediately come up with ways to bounce back separates successful managers and projects from those that fail, making this skill a crucial one to have or work upon.
To be a successful project manager, engaging every member of your team is crucial. When certain employees feel out of the loop, it can create an atmosphere of confusion and, even worse, resentment. Be sure to include as many people in your meetings and calls as possible, and always give equal opportunities for feedback and the sharing of creative ideas.