5 traits other leaders can learn from successful project managers

Some traits make project managers highly effective in achieving goals and collaborating with stakeholders. These skills aren't exclusive to project leaders; others can adopt them as well.

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Project managers possess many admirable traits that enable them to successfully communicate and collaborate with different stakeholders. These five traits are just some that can be applied to other leadership roles. 

Clear communication

When most leaders think about communication, there may be a tendency to only factor in how well they communicate with others, but there's much more to clear and effective communication. Being present and visible, actively listening, and being authentic are equally important. Why is clear communication so important? Clear communication involves frequency, being direct, being respectful, listening, allowing others to have a say, using examples, and leading by example, which all help to put people at ease and allows them to do their work with confidence. To complete projects within scope requires project leadership that incorporates all of these elements. These traits and elements would serve any leader well, regardless of industry, topic, or audience. 

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Calm under pressure

Stakeholders of all types look to project leaders for calm during times of crisis. Project managers understand why they were hired; they establish a plan for dealing with conflict and crisis and seek to understand situations by inquiring and delving into the root of issues. They also take the time to sit back and evaluate their options or how they're handling things. This helps them to regroup and make smarter decisions. Other leaders can also learn how to remain calm under pressure by adopting these strategies when the pressure hits. It can also help avoid hitting panic mode and potentially make a knee-jerk reaction or display undesirable behavior that can't easily be undone. 

SEE: How project managers are supporting the manufacturing industry after the pandemic (TechRepublic)

Focused on the issues

Project leaders recognize that staying focused is vital to being effective. They also know to use tools to keep on track and whiteboard or shelve things that aren't time-sensitive. Time-management, prioritizing tasks, and delegation are also essential in ensuring that each day is productive and avoids procrastination, especially for tasks that are not enjoyable. Other leaders can adopt these project management practices to help them stay focused on things that matter rather than getting sidetracked.

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Inclusive leadership

Strong leadership requires the ability to see the benefits of diversity and developing recruitment and retention around talent from all walks of life. Project managers understand this and put diverse teams together to ensure that the right skills are in place. They recognize that having the necessary knowledge is vital to achieving project success and providing customers with the best possible outcome. Other leaders can also achieve greater success by adopting inclusiveness and seeking talent based on skill and knowledge rather than geographic location or other criteria. 

SEE: Here's how project and program managers can improve delivery after the pandemic (TechRepublic)

Visibility

Project leaders strive to provide their teams and other stakeholders with visibility into each project. They do so because they recognize everyone needs to be on the same page and working toward the same goals. Without this, individuals could be working against each other or toward a goal that may have changed. Like project managers, other leaders should also ensure they create an executive visibility strategy to reach the intended targets. When leaders increase visibility, it helps build trust and rapport with stakeholders and can provide a means for resolving broader issues. 

By adopting these five project manager traits, leaders in all organizations and industries can position themselves to achieve better results.  

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