Top 5 Signs of a Great Project Manager

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The project management landscape is an increasingly diverse environment. Individuals serving this capacity are expected to have more skills, know more infrastructure details and generate superior engagement and success than in the past. With the competition for these kinds of jobs on the rise, so too is the expectation that personnel serving this role will comparatively improve themselves.

At the same time, it’s necessary for organizations to be willing and able to identify when someone in their tenure is offering up these kinds of skills and opportunities to their teams and employers. There’s nothing worse than having a valuable player on the team that leaders fail to recognize, as failing to show proper recognition and reward for this type of superiority could result in retention issues.

Here are five signs of a great project manager

1.) Advanced skills
It’s one thing for an employee to have a serviceable skill​ set, one that meets general expectations and can handle the rigors of everyday work. However, simply offering an average performance isn’t enough for someone in a dynamic and essential position like project manager. These individuals need to have a broad depth of knowledge, including current technology, marketing, stakeholder engagement, internal communication, budgeting, planning and coaching abilities that meet modern trends. Excelling even beyond these expectations should be the goal of any project manager.

As Get Smarter wrote for BizCommunity, team leaders are increasingly showing more interest in excellence, trying to set themselves apart from the pack. Generating unique ideas and striving for nontraditional yet successful methodologies are signs of a great project manager.

2.) Flawless management
It’s not enough anymore for a project manager to just be good at making spreadsheets or assigning basic tasks to employees. The best of the bunch look for ways to reach out to stakeholders, generate benchmarks for internal success and ensure that there’s a better level of transparency between the team and the rest of the organization. Project management lifecycle also demands that leaders have the ability to constantly look back at how things have gone versus expectations for how the challenge will be completed, making appropriate adjustments and handling deadlines flawlessly.

3.) Integrated structures
Much of the demand for better management and integration relies on implementing the right kinds of technology. As Emma Preslar wrote for TechTarget, one of the growing arenas for project management success is in portable and always-on infrastructure options like mobile deployments and cloud computing.

Specifically, the source pointed to business intelligence opportunities in mobile devices. Not only do smartphones and tablets expand the workspace and available hours for project management success, they also give leaders more data points to learn from and with which to generate forecasts and patterns for future success. The best project management strategies are those that can think about the benefits employees get right now and how these solutions can improve efforts in the future.

4.) Superior communication
Interacting with employees, stakeholders and the rest of the organization is essential to the health of a project management lifecycle. The best leaders are those that can easily balance the demands of internal coaching and oversight while creating an easy, positive relationship with investors.

Benjie Nycum wrote for The Huffington Post that communication in the project management setting helps the team deal with problems more efficiently, creates more motivation in the work setting and can offer a positive environment for team members to try new things and take risks that could lead to more efficient or successful project outcomes. Encouraging everyone to have a voice in the project management lifecycle keeps staff and stakeholders happier about the process.

5.) Honest ownership
Nycum added in the Post that it’s important for project managers to understand that, while each team member is required to finish the tasks assigned to them, the overall responsibility for positive project outcome is on the leader’s shoulders. The best of the best don’t shirk their load when things start to go wrong, blaming issues on bad communication or poor technological resources. Instead, they own up to the problems, seek out the causes and generate actionable solutions that can fix the current challenge or can be used to avoid future catastrophes.

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Marie Larsen
Marie is a writer for She has an educational background in languages and literature. She covers project management topics and tips, as well as career advice for project managers.