A project manager must have a unique set of characteristics to not only be effective at their job but to keep it. Those who are just starting in the role may need to make some changes before they can keep their jobs. Although there will always be challenges that are difficult for all managers, there are four things a project manager should always be mindful of:
- Attitude and behaviour. The most important asset you can have in your arsenal as a project manager is your attitude toward people and how you interact with them on an ongoing basis. First impressions matter with clients and colleagues alike. When someone first meets you this initial encounter will determine how he or she reacts to you every time they meet in the future. Newcomers will be asking themselves, “Is this a person I want on my project? Is he going to act professionally toward me and with others?” The way you interact with people will ultimately determine how they respond to you.
- Leadership style. As a project manager, you need to take charge of your team members and keep them motivated as the project moves along. You must always remember that different personalities require different management styles. A good leader understands what type of leadership works best with each individual in his or her team and employs those techniques accordingly while at the same time developing skills in areas where he or she needs improvement. Effective managers know exactly when they need to step up their interpersonal communication skills, when they need to be more lenient with a colleague’s performance issues, and when it is appropriate for them to step back and let someone else do the coaching.
- Workstyle. The project manager must remember that his or her working style may clash with others on the team. What works for one person may not work for another. As a leader, you will have to learn how best to lead each of your team members in such a way that is going to allow you to move forward as a cohesive unit. If this natural synergy does not occur among all members of the team, you must find ways of pulling everyone together so that there is no distinction among those who are charged with achieving the same goal. This will require a combination of leadership skills and taking a more active role as the team’s administrator.
- Quality assurance and control. As a project manager, you must learn how to maintain quality assurance over your entire project while training others in your team to do the same. Your focus should be on maintaining controls so that work is being done consistently throughout the organization by different people at different times according to a single set of standards. This includes all phases of your project from design, through development, and even after implementation when there is ongoing support for users. To maintain this level of quality it will take more than one person to manage each phase of the process; hence why teamwork is so important.
These four elements are essential to making sure you keep on top of the job at hand. Using self-hosted project management software can be helpful. The key is knowing what they are so that you can always be aware of them and how you can improve your performance as a project manager in each area.