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10 qualities of a top project manager you should know

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Searching for a good project manager isn’t easy for an HR professional. Exceptional project managers with the right qualities are rare.

When hiring a project manager, you need to search for several qualities, such as leadership and people-management skills, that indicate proficiency and dedication to the project manager role.

But what are the qualities of a good project manager?

If this question has you drawing a blank, don’t worry. Read this article to learn which qualities you should consider when hiring a professional project manager.

What makes a good project manager?

Project delivery, awareness of team deadlines, budget setting, and the ability to satisfy clients are four project management abilities that you may consider when hiring an applicant.

However, the qualities of a good project manager go beyond these four characteristics.

To hire a good project manager, you need to understand what makes a project manager the right fit for your organization. You must know the right project management characteristics to look for, and the qualities described in this section are only the tip of the iceberg.

Exceptional project managers are scarce

You might think that hiring a project manager is just the same as hiring a business leader. However, it can be more challenging to hire project managers due to the subtler, less conspicuous skills and key soft skills required for a project management career. 

It’s been found that 92% of project team members believe soft skills are vital for project manager roles, but not all candidates have these skills.

10 qualities of a project manager to add to your list

So, what are the ten qualities of a project manager that should be at the top of your list?

Here are the project manager qualities you should consider when hiring an applicant.

image showing qualities of a project manager to add to your list - set A

1. Communication skills

Since a project manager will lead team members of various seniority levels, they will need to interact and communicate with all of them effectively.

Your project manager must have excellent communication skills, including skills in active listening and understanding non-verbal cues, to lead and communicate effectively.

2. Leadership skills

It’s essential for a project manager to have excellent leadership skills. Part of leadership involves leading team members who have different backgrounds, strengths, and abilities.

Your candidates should have project manager qualities that will help them unify team members despite their differences.

3. Technical expertise

To understand the projects they oversee, project managers must have technical expertise.

For example, a software engineering project manager must understand the technical requirements of the team’s projects, including code reviews, testing, debugging, and deployment. 

They should also understand the tools, processes, and project management steps needed to successfully complete projects.

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4. Team-building skills

Another essential quality of a project manager is team-building skills. Assembling an efficient team that can work together effectively to overcome challenges is crucial to a project’s success. 

Since several barriers can prevent team cohesion, such as team members’ individual, unique work priorities, you should look for project managers skilled in team building to help build a productive team.

5. Problem-solving skills

Project managers with problem-solving skills have answers to complex problems. However, other project manager qualities can also reinforce problem-solving skills. 

For example, you should look for an applicant who can draw upon their team’s knowledge to solve problems or think of unique and creative ways to resolve issues.

image showing qualities of a project manager to add to your list - set B

6. Delegation skills

Task and project delegation skills are another example of the qualities of a project manager.

Task delegation doesn’t only entail assigning team members their tasks. A project manager must also understand the skills of their team.

Relying on the strengths of their team members and trusting them to complete the tasks is another subskill related to delegation – it’s what makes a good project manager successful in the role. Try to find project managers who have delegation skills such as these.

7. Ability to work under pressure

Can your candidate solve problems and work under pressure?

Project managers should know how to keep calm while handling the most complex projects. To work efficiently under pressure, project managers need to stay organized and be resourceful.

It’s also critical for them to know where to get the right information or who to ask for support. 

8. Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm doesn’t just mean having a positive mindset when managing a team. Buoying up team morale is a major part of what makes a good project manager successful. 

You should look for candidates who have a positive leadership mindset. However, it’s also important to find applicants who are prepared to get their feet wet and actively support their team.

For this reason, one of the subqualities of a project manager that relates to enthusiasm is the willingness to constantly learn new things about their field of work. This skill will ensure your candidates lead by example and show enthusiasm for the projects they lead.

9. Competence

Ideally, a project manager should show mastery of their field, which gives them the competence to lead a team. Competence encompasses a range of behaviors, knowledge, attitudes, and skills that contribute to success.

Another example of competence as a project manager is the ability to make business decisions. Project managers must know when to offer more assistance to a team member or take a step back and reinforce a teachable moment by letting their team take charge.

In short, competence is more than just having skills – it’s about knowing how to use such skills and incorporate them fully into the behaviors required for project management. This skill integration is what you must look for in a project manager.

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10. Integrity

Top project managers have an honest, hardworking attitude, and this quality is a fundamental element of integrity. But integrity is more than this.

In project management, candidates need to remain consistent in their actions and behaviors with all team members. They must show that they are champions of hard work by recognizing and rewarding their team’s efforts.

It’s essential to search for candidates with integrity because this quality enables them to motivate teams and drive success.

Hire a candidate with the right project manager qualities

Finding the right project manager is different from hiring a business leader. It can be challenging since there are so many skills to consider.

However, knowing which project manager qualities to look for is a solid first step toward hiring a competent leader for your team. It will help you find project managers who are natural problem solvers, have integrity, know how to work under pressure, and possess boundless enthusiasm for their role.

Now that you know the qualities of an outstanding project manager, take a look at some of the skills tests linked in this article to assess your candidates for these qualities.

With TestGorilla’s pre-employment skills tests, you can hire confidently and find the skills you need.  Get started for free today and start making better hiring decisions, faster and bias-free.


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