Project managers are essential players in the world of business. Companies depend on these employees to organize, motivate, facilitate, communicate, and ensure that meaningful progress is made on a daily basis. Without these individuals directing the flow of production each and every day, business would no doubt come to a standstill. However, the business that aims to not just meet, but exceed, client expectations depends on the talents of truly great project managers, and these individuals are often less common than we might like to believe. But just what defines such an individual?
A project manager that is a strong asset to his or her company is one that exudes optimism. Why? Optimism is the driving force behind commanding authority in a way that naturally elicits a positive response from other workers. When assignments and goals are presented in a way that emphasizes their achievability and benefit to the client, a project manager’s team is more likely to put forth their best effort. Optimism is also the key to ensuring that project managers themselves approach each day with renewed commitment and vigor; the individual that lets the daily challenges of the job culminate into stress will likely struggle to find the motivation to sustain their level of commitment to the job.
It’s also important to understand which objectives are of immediate attention, and which can be delegated or left alone for the time being. It’s likely the case that no project manager has the ability to devote his or her attention to every piece of information that comes their way throughout the course of the day, but they can be optimally efficient by quickly determining which pieces of information should be acted upon. In regards to prioritization, it’s also key to continually reassess the smaller goals within a larger project. How has the direction of the project changed since its inception? What are our most pressing concerns today? These questions can help team members clarify what they should be working on, and how.
While it’s generally a given that project managers will need to communicate with their stakeholders to guide the trajectory of a project, how that communication unfolds is what can differentiate a good project manager from a great one. For example, while a good project manager may send an email update to a stakeholder at the end of every month, a more effective project manager would establish and adhere to a more frequent communication schedule that involves direct communication via phone, where an immediate exchange of questions and responses can be delivered. These questions to stakeholders should always be precise and focused towards more effectively achieving project goals, while overall conversation should be conducted in a manner that is cognizant of the stakeholder’s opinions and preferences.
The reality is that a project manager won’t be an expert on every project’s topic. For example, he or she may be responsible for overseeing the deployment of a project for a financial firm, yet have minimal prior knowledge of complex financial terms and concepts. However, this initial lack of deep insight should never stand in the way of delivering exceptional service; the truth is that when a new topic presents itself, project managers must make the effort to learn more about the subject so as to provide stakeholders with optimal insight and key strategies.
In all, project management is a complex, challenging, yet ultimately rewarding field that affords the opportunity for individuals to hone a wide range of valuable skills. For the business looking to elevate its level of service and continue to grow, it’s imperative to hire and groom those that possess a passion for the job, an understanding of how to prioritize tasks on a daily basis, a commitment to effective communication, and a willingness to continue to learn.
Interested in learning more about how to improve your performance or that of your employees? Project management webinars can be a great resource for both companies and their project managers.