Whether you are administering the development of a mobile app, designing a website, or just handling any other project as a lead, you’ll have to follow the different phases of project management: planning, strategizing, developing, testing, iterating, implementing, and closing. With deadlines, budgets, resources, and scopes, project managers are expected not to assume as it only leads to inaccuracy. Project management skills are life skills. Few are acquired, few are developed, enhanced, and few are formally strengthened through various project management tools that help to attune your project management process.
Reports indicate that 38% of new leaders fail within the first 18 months. Thus, a business leader needs to be versatile to manage projects and teams successfully. Business leaders have a significant role in the success of a project. Surveys suggest that almost 20% of projects fail due to inexperienced project managers. A business leader acts as a guide while the project team members typically perform the role of followers and act as directed.
Leaders and project managers can have varied traits, but every business leader must possess the requisite crucial qualities and skills for flawless project management. These skills focus on managing people, tasks, and unavoidable/unforeseen risks that can damage the project.
So, what are these essential skills?
What Are the Skills That a Business Leader Must Have For Successful Project Management?
Here are the essential project management skills that every business leader should have.
1. Leadership Traits
To be a perfect project manager, a business leader needs leadership and team-building skills. He must encourage coordination and teamwork. He should learn to delegate tasks to the right team members. Business leaders bear the responsibility of developing a work culture that benefits both the company and the employees.
Reports suggest that 80% of work accidents occur due to stress from a negative/toxic work culture. Thus, leadership is a critical trait for a business leader to impart the right work environment for project management.
2. Soft Skills
People often underestimate soft skills in business. A business leader must have the necessary soft skills to control projects and teams, including integrity, active listening, and emotional intelligence. While honesty and integrity of the leader are essential for business, active listening helps in gathering appropriate suggestions from the team members.
Emotional intelligence enables business leaders to think before acting and better manage their reactions in critical situations. Thus, these soft skills collectively empower leaders and aid in project management.
3. People Skills
Managing people is also a vital part of project management. So, a business or project leader must have exemplary people skills. An essential element in people skills is communicating well with all the project’s stakeholders, including the team, clients, and others.
To achieve this, the project manager or business leader must have the ability to understand and empathize with people. Leaders who lack people skills fail the most in project management despite having other requisite skills. Some of the best team communication software can hone these in-demand communication skills of project managers.
4. Time and Budget Management
Project success directly depends on costs. If the project does not meet deadlines, the clients lose trust. Thus, businesses need to ensure that the projects get delivered on time. When various project tasks exceed the timeline, more resources are required to meet the final deadlines. It can prove very costly for the business.
Increased costs due to delays ultimately result in a budget creep and reduce the project profits dramatically. So, business leaders must possess the ability to manage time and budget to ensure the successful completion of projects within the pre-planned budget.
5. Motivational Ability
Project team members face lots of challenges during the project lifecycle. These issues can make them lose confidence and get demotivated. Even if they perform well, a lack of appreciation can unnerve them.
A good business leader or project manager needs to boost employee morale by encouraging and motivating them. He must recognize good performers and act as an inspiration for the average performers to bring out the best in them.
6. Risk Management
Project teams and project managers need to manage numerous unforeseen circumstances in project management. It is impossible to eliminate these risks in totality. Without proper planning, these risks can cause massive damages, increase costs, and lead to project failure.
Risk management involves identifying the project risks and their probability beforehand and discovering ways to shrink these risks and reduce the damages. An ideal business leader should be able to visualize and analyze the risks and suggest the appropriate resolution. Risk management abilities in business leaders typically emerge from experience in managing similar projects.
7. Mentoring Aptitude
A business leader should be a mentor. He must guide and train the team by leveraging his knowledge and experience. Team members tend to develop a trusting relationship with the leader when they get appropriate mentorship. A business leader who is a good mentor gradually helps the team evolve, perform better, and deliver successful projects.
8. Problem-Solving Potential
Problems and conflicts are common challenges in project management. Team members who are good at their work may not have the authority and capability to deal with these. For efficient project management, the business leader must have problem-solving skills.
9. Conflict Management
There can be internal conflicts too within a project team that can affect the project performance and timelines. The business leader or project manager needs to solve these conflicts effectively to keep the team members united, earn their trust, and get work done on time. For conflict management, the leader must possess an accommodating, collaborating, and compromising approach in project management.
10. Flair for Technology
With rising competition, no business can survive without technology-driven innovation. Technology can create miracles for projects. There are numerous project management tools available to automate project tasks and operations and ease the work of various project stakeholders.
A business leader must know how to leverage the right technology at the right place and at the right time. The leader must have a bent for technology and innovation. He must also have the ability to make his team members understand why technology adoption is essential and how they can make its best use.
11. Research and Presentation Skills
A business leader must be an explorer or researcher. He should be able to generate ideas for better project management and devise ways to implement these.
Besides, to execute the ideas, the leader must express these to the team members correctly. Thus, a perfect business leader must have presentation skills and public speaking abilities.
Business leadership is an art and a collaborative approach aimed at business success and growth. As discussed above, a business leader must have comprehensive knowledge and distinctive traits to run projects successfully.
Additionally, as Kenneth Blanchard rightly quoted, “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” Thus, an ideal leader leverages his expertise and experience to support and guide his project team members. Develop these skills and be the best business leader and project manager. Any more skills you wish to share with us, do share in the comments below!
- 11 Essential Project Management Skills for Every Business Leader - July 20, 2021