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7 Habits of Brilliant Project Managers

~ By Duncan Brodie

Businessman smiling with hands together

Project management is a tough role. You often find yourself being pulled between keeping users, subordinates, team members and senior people happy. Given these demands, what do the best project managers do that makes them stand out from the crowd?

1. Focus on Solutions

Problem solving and breaking through constraints is an essential part of managing projects. Those that excel as project managers have a mindset where they focus on finding solutions to problems. They keep asking themselves how they can overcome whatever barriers arise.

2. Participative and Decisive

All the best project managers understand the need to communicate and consult. They also know that lots of talking and procrastination achieves nothing. Finding the right balance between consulting, deciding and acting is what separates the best from the rest.

3. Focus on Customer

In every project there are customers. They might be internal or external or a combination of both. The best project managers keep customers at the forefront of their mind. They listen effectively, take on board the feedback they are getting and look for ways of incorporating it whenever they can.

4. Focus on Win-Win Outcomes

In any project there will be many stakeholders, all of whom will see their issues as being the most important. The challenge that the best project managers respond to is finding solutions that address the issues without compromising the overall project structure.

5. Lead From the Front

Project managers need to lead by example. The example they set determines how the rest of the team behave and respond to the challenges that arise. Those project managers who want to encourage openness and honesty are open and honest themselves. Those that take risks and learn from their mistakes empower others to do the same.

6. Adapt to What Arises

You can set out the best plans in the world, think about the risks, put great tracking in place and even then the unexpected will show up from time to time.

Adaptability is a key characteristic of the best project managers. View adaptability in projects a bit like the flight path of an aircraft. It can be off course along the way but it needs to be right on target when it comes to landing.

7. Get the Best Out of Everyone

Those that excel as project managers realise they cannot do it all on their own. They recognise the importance of the collective team effort in getting results. They find and utilise the strengths in everyone and try to ensure that they allocate roles to those best placed to deliver. They learn to keep everyone motivated and pushing the boundaries to get results.

Project management is a complex and demanding role. Starting to work on these 7 habits can take you to the next level.


Duncan Brodie is a Leadership Development Coach and Management Trainer at Goals and Achievements http://www.goalsandachievements.co.uk. He specialises in helping accountants and professionals to make the transition from technical expert to manager and leader.


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