Project Management

5 Characteristics of Top Project Managers

Ever have the chance to observe an effective project manager working completely in their element? You didn’t think it was luck that got them where they are, did you? Brad Egeland, writing for, discloses the five traits that (when applied consistently) make the PM a real leader of IT:

  1. Organized thinker and doer
  2. Skillful negotiator
  3. Analytical thinker
  4. Connected leader
  5. Is above reproach

Organizing & Analyzing

Organization skills are often associated with planning, but the successful PM puts those skills into action in the moment. They are perennial doers, who create a plan for the purpose of execution. Not only do they stick to their plan, they get the entire team to play along and to get organized. As work piles up, it becomes tempting to procrastinate. The persistent PM pushes through:

If you’re a new project manager you learn it by doing – stick to best practices and always be keen on analyzing where the project is and where it needs to go and calculating the best way to get there. Through that ongoing thinking process, you will become a good analytical thinking PM.

Another hallmark of the successful PM is that they all tend to be ‘deal makers.’ Who else will fight for the team when it comes to resources, timing, costs, and project changes? Many of us are unconscious negotiators; we naturally bargain for the best deal. A good PM makes this tendency deliberate, a tool to maximize the benefit of all situations.

Using Connections

There’s often a fine line between “being connected” and manipulating your peers. The PM never crosses this line. Instead, they simply want the best for their project and know how to access the right people to get the job done. That means being honest, kind, truthful, and SELFISH. Those who network aggressively get the resources for their project.

And lastly, the top PM is honest with their peers and follows through on all promises. The word integrity has the word “grit” in it – that’s a good way to remember “grit your teeth and disclose all closeted skeletons up front.” It takes guts to be an outspoken leader, but it takes grit to be a leader whose actions speak for themselves.

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