January 17, 2018


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Leadership Skills for Project Managers

Leadership skills for project managers Good leadership skills are what make a good project manager great. This article will explore the attributes that would make the project manager a great leader.

Inspire a Shared Team Vision

For a project to work, everybody needs to share the same vision for the project. Great project managers help all team members feel like they have an equal stake in a project, and empower everyone to share and experience the group’s vision.  When team members share a similar vision, they are committed to deliver their best.


Good leadership requires commitment and adherence to ethical practices. Good project managers abide by ethical standards and reward those team members who follow suit is part of the responsibility of the job.

Great Communication Skills

Project managers need to clearly communicate goals, performance and expectations; and they need to manage feedback coming at them from all directions.  Being accessible, open, and direct is critical for being a good communicator. Further, having the ability to persuade team members to do certain tasks a bit differently, or work overtime when necessary, is equally as important.  Overall, a project manager’s overall effectiveness is often realized by the ability to communicate effectively.

Competency in the Subject Matter of the Project

Team members need to feel like their project manager has some degree of expertise in the project’s subject matter. As such, project leaders should have the ability to lead their team with technical expertise if the project so requires it. Leaders who are seen as competent by their peers have the ability to inspire, enable and encourage.

Promote Team Building

A project manager must understand team building dynamics.  He or she must go through each phase of team development – even when conflict arises – and get the team to focus on the common goal.   Great project managers foster a sense of unity on the team, across personal dynamics.

Good with Task Delegation

Assigning the right tasks to the right people and trusting them to leverage the best of their abilities is a key characteristic of a great project manager.

Good Problem Solving Abilities

Great project managers solve problems by sharing the responsibility with the experts on their team. This means leveraging the knowledge of those team members and stakeholders who have the expert knowledge to assist; and setting a plan to solve tough problems by harnessing that team experience.

Stay Cool Under Pressure

In a perfect world, every project would complete on time, on budget, and on scope. Unfortunately, when the going gets tough, good project managers remain calm. Warrant Bennis stated: “Out of the uncertainty and chaos of change, leaders rise up and articulate a new image of the future that pulls the project together.”  Great project managers stay cool under pressure.

I like this definition of Leadership: “leading is about establishing direction and influencing others to follow that direction”. This is a good indicator of how project managers should lead their project teams.

As a project manager you lead and facilitate the team members to work towards the same goal consistently.

About Linky van der Merwe: Linky is the Founder of Virtual Project Consulting. Her mission is to provide project management best practices and to recommend resources to aspiring and existing project managers.  A certified project management professional with more than 13 years project management experience and a track record of more than 30 successful projects.


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