Four Essential Habits of Every Great Project Manager

Pauline Farris | January 10, 2019

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Being the one in charge is never easy—and not everyone gets to be in that position. It takes more than courage and confidence to be good at taking care of people, projects, and events. All project managers have suitable skills and necessary knowledge that make them ideal candidates to lead their team, even if they came into the role “accidentally” without any formal project management training.

Great project managers also have a set of habits rooted in their work ethic. These habits are like the rules they stick to in order to be efficient and successful. These habits are acquired in time, with experience, but they are nurtured throughout the entire career.

Take a look at the four essential habits of a great project manager.

1. Managing the Team

A project manager isn’t supposed to do everything on their own. They are, however, supposed to assemble the perfect team that can achieve the desired results.

Therefore, the first crucial habit of a great project manager is to smoothly coordinate the team and be the leader they need.

Let’s break this down a little bit. A great project manager needs to do two things:

  • Know the team. By knowing everyone’s strengths, weaknesses, skills, and personality traits, a project manager can assign the right tasks to the right people. This increases team efficiency and leads to achieving all the goals.
  • Trust the team. It’s impossible (and unnecessary) for the project manager to be present in every segment of the project development and keep an eye on everything all the time. This is why they have the team.

This means the project manager isn’t ashamed to

  • ask questions,
  • listen to the team’s advice and suggestions,
  • admit a mistake, or
  • praise a good idea.

There is no project without the team. And, there is no team without someone who puts it together.

2. Dealing with the Unexpected

Have you ever made a plan that went 100 percent the way you imagined it would? I’m guessing the answer is “no.”

When you’re dealing with any type of project, especially those that include a lot of people and different stages, something is bound to go wrong.

When it does, a good project manager needs to be ready for it.

The second highly appreciated habit of a great project manager is to always be one step ahead of the problem. That means that they

  • predict the problem could potentially happen,
  • have a solution planned out,
  • come up with a new solution if the previous one fails,
  • make decisions in stressful situations, and
  • make changes and adaptations according to the newest occurrences.

Issues and drawbacks are perfectly normal for projects of any kind. The important thing is that the person in charge is ready to step up and make the right calls.

3. Keeping Track of Things

One of the biggest mistakes a project manager can make is to believe they have the brain capacity to memorize all most important information and keep it in their head.

That’s not how things work.

Every responsible and well-prepared project manager will tell you that you need to document everything. This is the third golden habit of the best project manager.

We’re talking about writing down everything that has to do with the project:

  • meeting reports
  • expenses
  • daily targets
  • milestones
  • important contacts
  • major issues
  • task completion
  • reminders

This habit is one of the building blocks of great organization and trustworthiness. It helps the project manager stay on top of their game and not let anything slip their mind.

In addition, writing everything down is crucial when submitting a report to the superiors. All facts need to be visible and nothing can be left out.

In case you ever have to deal with proofreading or even translating your reports, check out The Word Point.

4. Designing a Productive Environment

A project manager is in charge of everyone else being productive and efficient. To do this, they need to put in the extra effort to create the perfect working conditions for everyone.

We’re wrapping this up with the habit of taking care of the team.

This implies taking care of several factors influencing each team member’s work experience.

  • The Tools. The project manager needs to make sure that every department has all the necessary tools for properly carrying out all the tasks.
  • The Motivation. Creating a positive atmosphere means being able to motivate your team members to work hard and do their best. However, this also implies making them feel comfortable, energized, and satisfied.
  • The Feedback. When a phase of the project is finished successfully, the team members deserve praise and a mini-celebration. If something went wrong and some bad moves have been made, constructive criticism is highly recommended and welcome.

The project manager needs to have the well-being of the team as one of their primary concerns and creating a habit of taking care of them is essential.

Final Thoughts

Even though being a project manager means working hard, having a lot of responsibilities, and often feeling stressed out or anxious, it doesn’t have to be difficult. By having the right kind of mindset and adopting crucial habits, the job can be a lot less stressful and a lot more enjoyable.

Every project manager should work on establishing their own habits and creating a unique work ethic. However, the essential habits discussed above are a must for being successful. Make sure to have them under your belt if you’re striving to become a successful project manager.

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