5 Traits, Skills and Principles of a Truly Successful Project Manager

On the surface, the role of “project manager” is a misleading one. Sure, the name alone signals someone who simply acts as overseer of any given project; however, the role today has evolved dramatically. Modern project managers are involving in every aspect of a project from the planning phase and team development to what happen after a launch goes live.

Considering that the role encompasses so many responsibilities for organizations ranging from massive enterprises to small IT operations, finding the right fit for your company is easier said than done. Meanwhile, those are project managers currently have an unspoken expectation to always be broadening their horizons.

But at the end of the day, what makes a successful project manager anyway?

Regardless of where you’re looking to bring on a new project manager or simply become a better one yourself, keep the following eight traits in mind.


Perhaps the most important aspect of project management is the ability to lead your respective teams. This means delegating responsibilities, meeting deadlines and keep morale high all the while getting the job done. Wrangling these elements of a project simultaneously requires intense organizational skills, but also the drive to motivate others.

Risk Management

The best project managers can both foresee and predict potential problems before they arise. Understanding the pieces of risk mitigation in project management not only saves organizations major time and money, but also helps those same managers hone in on better projects over time.


As noted, motivation is key for managers who want to get the absolute most out of their coworkers. That said, acting like a slave-driver that’s laser-focused on resulted will only sour your employees and put your project in potential peril.

That’s why empathy in the workplace is not only essential for project managers, but workplaces at large who strive to be on the same page. Taking the time to understand the challenges and roadblocks facing your team is worthwhile for both improving morale and ensuring your work environment stays positive.


When working with a team, it’s only natural to try to deflect or downplay our role in a project when things go sour.

Instead, an effective project manager ultimately takes responsibility given their overarching role when it comes to picking a team and seeing their workload through. This is especially important for dealing with stakeholders and budget where the “why” of any given project is under a microscope. Strong leaders can justify their decisions without batting an eye.

High-Pressure Problem-Solving

For those working in tech or industries where the pressure is most definitely cranked up, you need someone who’s not going to crack when the going gets tough.

Not only do top project managers stay cool under pressure: they thrive on such challenges. Whereas a newbie might be phased by a tight deadline or sudden roadblock, a seasoned manager embraces the unexpected.

Those looking to improve their own project management skills should look at this as a checklist to focus on over time. While finding the ideal fit in terms of a project manager might seem nearly impossible, anyone who embodies the bulk of these traits is likely represents top-tier talent.

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