The project manager role is one which requires a good variety of skills. This means that it is a great type of job if you want to learn new things and practice skills which you might not get to try out in other positions.
Clearly some of the strengths you need are more important than others, and here are the top 5.
1. Ability to See the Big Picture
If there is one person in the team who needs to see the big picture at all times it is the project manager. Others can get caught up in the fine details but you always need to know what the end objective is. The fact that you are involved from the start and get to see all of the high level documentation means that this should actually be easier than it might sound. However, when the going gets tough it can be easy to focus too much on the details and forget about the overall project goals.
2. Lots of Enthusiasm
Every project goes through tough spells when people’s spirits and energy levels dip a little. If you are lucky you will have some lively team members who help keep things bubbling along but ultimately it is your job to do this. An enthusiastic project manager can make sure that the team members enjoy their days at work and get more done as well. I guess that you might fall into one of two camps; a naturally enthusiastic person or one who needs to find a way of getting into this frame of mind. Personally I have always found that I get excited by a new project. However, sometimes my enthusiasm wanes after a while and I need to get back my positive frame of mind. A team day out works for me but I guess that everyone needs to find their own way of doing this.
3. Clear Thinking
It is easy to get muddled in a long or especially complex project. This is nothing to be ashamed of but I think it is how we react to this situation which most matters. As the project leader you need to be sure that you can clear your mind of all confusion and show the way forward to the rest of your team. There is no real trick in doing this as far as I am concerned; it is simply about taking the time to think things through and get the most suitable answer. Over time you will get used to doing this and even the most complicated situation is unlikely to phase you the way it might in the early days of your career.
This might seem like a bit of a strange strength to mention at first glance. However, a lot of projects are long, drawn out affairs and you won’t want to lose your patience while you are part of the way through it. If you are an impatient sort of a person then splitting the piece of work into different sub-projects might help you stay focused and under control while you are ticking off one milestone after another. Another idea I have seen project managers use it so run different projects at the same time. If you can do this then you will always have something to work on so you run less risk of becoming impatient. As long as you don’t get confused between the different pieces of work it could be a decent solution for you if you think that a lack of patience could be a problem at some point in your work.
The most important person in the project is the person leading it but they can’t do everything on their own no matter how hard they try. Your team will play a huge part in the success of the work so you need to be sure that they are fully focused and ready to get stuck in. The leadership skills you will need are hard to define as what you need to do will vary from one project to another. Sometimes you might need to give technical assistance while in other cases it will be more a case of encouraging and pushing on your team members. Being a leader means knowing what to do and when to do it. This might sound like a daunting prospect but once you get into the habit of doing the job then it should become easier for you do it.