Must-have Qualities for Effective Project Managers

project managers

Project managers execute projects on time and within budget. Meanwhile, effective project managers execute projects on time and within budget, while consistently meeting all other project requirements, staying accountable to their business partners and investing deeply in organizational success.

As remote work increases in popularity, project management becomes more and more complex. Project managers need a baseline skillset to accomplish their goals, which they can gain with an online essential project management course from a respected university. Afterwards, project managers can become a niche function and sort after specialty if they demonstrate the following must-have qualities:


All project managers need to be technically skilled, but the best project managers use their skills to strategically benefit their organization. Considering that various internal and external factors can derail projects — factors like legal restrictions, remote work issues, economic activity, ecological responsibility, social and cultural outcomes and more. They need to be able to develop strategies that keep projects on track and benefit the business overall.


Too many business leaders are focused on how  shareholders will react to certain projects. A much better business strategy, and one that the best project managers maintain, is focusing instead on what stakeholders need and want. They should put the expectations and requirements of stakeholders above their wishes, which demands recognizing and setting aside personal bias. Such focus and dedication can be rare among project managers, and that rarity is what makes they with this quality so valuable.


A project manager is nothing without a team to manage. While some project managers happily take credit for the successes of their team, the best credit and praise the contributions of their team. This generosity can be a project manager’s ability to recognize and exploit the various strengths of team members, to ensure greater efficiency and success throughout the project.


Project managers should be generous with successes, but when it comes to failures, they must be accountable to their team. When a project leader makes a mistake, they should admit it, work to correct it and strive to learn from it — practices that their team can emulate in their roles. Accountability is a hallmark of integrity, which all business leaders should have and demonstrate.


Studies have found the best motivation to come from within. Those who feel intrinsic motivation demonstrate a better ability to cooperate with teammates and maintain a high level of effort over a longer period. The highest quality understand how to tap into their team members’ sense of intrinsic motivation. Often, this involves empowering employees and providing ample opportunities for autonomous work.


Plenty of workers within an organization care about their work only insofar as they get their paychecks and perks, but effective project managers believe in the importance and value of the projects they oversee. Such investment keeps project managers invested in progress and performance, and it cultivates a passion for the projects and the people involved. Commitment to garnering positive results from a project is a key indicator of a truly great project manager.


Communication is easily one of the most important skills for anyone at any level of an organization. Thus, it should come as little surprise that good project managers need to be effective communicators, capable of written and oral communication. Even more important than being able to write or speak to their teams is a project manager’s ability to listen to the workers around them, pay attention to non-verbal communication cues and understand the context of different communications. These abilities help head off conflict and facilitate success in their projects.


Respect is earned, never freely given, so when a project manager has a reputation as a respected leader, they have established themselves as an excellent and valuable member of an organization. It can take time for project leaders to earn respect, but exercising the skills listed above will help them gain respect from their peers and employees.

Any project manager can become amazing at what they do. It is not always easy to keep a project organized and on track while keeping team members motivated and engaged, but the best project managers have the right skills to make it happen.