5 soft skills for every project manager

May 30, 2023

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Project management requires a complex set of skills beyond the basics. Soft skills are often overlooked in traditional training, but they can be critical to managing a given project. Discover five soft skills that can help you become an effective project manager.

Project managers (PMs) offer more than just management and business or information technology know-how. Whatever your title, here are five soft skills you can apply to be more effective in your role.

1. Leadership

It’s important for PMs to use leadership skills in the projects they support. By leading the team, the PM can help focus everyone’s efforts on solving problems and completing their work effectively.

Demonstrate this skill by:

  • Taking charge and staying focused in a crisis
  • Listening to other team members or leaders for their ideas
  • Giving feedback to your team and encouraging growth

2. Communication

Good communication between the PM and the project sponsors, team members, customers and other stakeholders involved in a project is essential. PMs need to interpret the goals, ideas and issues related to the project, develop a coherent vision for what the final result should be and produce reports and presentations on the project’s status.

Demonstrate this skill by:

  • Presenting clear ideas, goals and status updates to all project stakeholders
  • Tailoring your messages and choosing communication channels to suit each audience
  • Recognizing and working through any communication obstacles, such as lack of attention or misunderstood messages

3. Team building

A project is composed of various moving parts, with many different team members working together toward its completion. For this reason, it’s critical for a PM to build a unified team. 

Demonstrate this skill by:

  • Ensuring that coworkers understand and can articulate team objectives
  • Pulling the team together for relationship-building exercises and activities
  • Working with individuals and groups to help resolve conflicts effectively

4. Facilitate and delegate

To maximize a team’s productivity, PMs must understand how each member provides value and delegate tasks accordingly. Not only will learning how to delegate allow you as a PM to tap into each person’s skills, you’ll also free up your own time to focus on other important aspects of the project.

Demonstrate this skill by:

  • Understanding who on the team has the skills to take on specific tasks
  • Giving clear directions and deadlines
  • Providing the necessary information and resources for the team to complete their tasks

5. Organization

PMs use their organizational skills to maintain order in the face of complexity and drive the project forward to completion. These skills include planning, time management, and even simple attention to detail.

Demonstrate this skill by:

  • Creating schedules for specific tasks
  • Coordinating internal and external resources to improve efficiency
  • Consistently meeting deadlines and exercising the ability to prioritize and delegate tasks

Learn business, technical and soft skills when you earn a business degree that focuses on project management. Capella University offers online bachelor’s, MBA, and PhD programs with a project management specialization.

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