In addition to academic knowledge and credentials there are “soft skills” that enhance the ability of a Project Manager to meet the requirements of a job. The Project Manager (PM) must possess the leadership qualities that can inspire and motivate the members of a professional team to stay on point, do their best work and accomplish outstanding tasks toward the successful completion of a project.
While technical expertise in the core area of the business is essential, “people skills” are just as important and, I dare say, paramount.
The project manager must possess a keen ability to communicate. He has to be able to translate and convey the goals and responsibilities of each area of the project; not only to the team, but also to representatives outside the team who may have to provide support in resources of all kinds. The PM is to know how to garner that support by being able to relay the direction and progress of the project.
He is a skilled problem-solver who is able to clearly evaluate issues as they arise, and deal with them without losing the cool composure of one who should have answers or be able to obtain them.
The PM is knowledgeable of the skills and abilities of the members of his team. He is aware of the experts on his team and knows how to delegate tasks for the most favorable outcomes. He must be keyed in to what motivates each team member to do his or her best work. He is able to create “buy in” for the tasks ahead and gain a consensus of thought and actions for project goals. He is also an effective coach and builds long-term capabilities in individual members.
The team should be able to trust the PM. Team members want to have confidence in leadership. The PM must be a person who can maintain the forward momentum, especially at those frequent times when the rigors of an extensive project start to weigh in on individuals. The team needs to know that they can do their jobs sans drama and turmoil. The PM can rally and re-rally the team to make the push through the stressful junctures that will come.
His integrity (honesty, sincerity, and undividedness) towards the team and its goals must be clearly demonstrated. His positive energy, based on knowledge of the project and his ability to “protect” the team’s interest is a natural boon to successful team interaction and work. This point might seem unusual, but we’ve experienced those times when the project team has actually needed to be defended or protected from unrealistic expectations and demands from an overly zealous client. Enter the need for skillful mediation and possible clarification of project deliverables..
The best Project Manager is the consummate influencer. He has affiliative leadership skills (minus any tendency to allow poor performance to go unchecked, of course) and creates harmony among his staff. A cohesive team can always be a more productive team when they also have a common motivation to succeed.
With the “soft-skills” in place, the effective Project Manager continually equips himself by honing his knowledge and insight regarding all aspects of the project’s core tasks and responsibilities.
Here’s a site that contains excellent information and further reading on the Role of the Project Manager.