5 In-Demand Soft Skills for Project Managers

Project managers work in a variety of fields, assuming responsibility for the planning, execution and completion of specific undertakings. They direct employees, provide updates to company leaders, ensure projects stay on budget, and adjust to changing circumstances.

To be successful as a project manager, core leadership skills are a must. While duties will vary from job to job, the project manager seeks to maximize revenue and minimize costs. Communicating with team members and key stakeholders, resolving conflicts, budgeting, time management and team building all require certain soft skills. These abilities enable project managers to elevate their hard skills so they can successfully interact with the people around them.

Earning an MBA with a concentration in Project Management online from the University of Southern Indiana is one way to acquire these skills and see how they translate to the real world.

  1. Communication. Knowing how to communicate by using the right tone and language in person, on the phone or via email can generate the desired response. Team members, stakeholders, clients, vendors and partners appreciate open and honest communication. It builds trust. They feel comfortable communicating with the project manager if they sense transparency.
  2. Team building. The team that works on a project interacts with many people, from customers and vendors to partners and management. Perhaps most importantly, the team members interact with each other on a daily basis. It’s important that they feel comfortable, safe and valued. Sharing information, valuing team input, resolving conflicts and acknowledging hard work are a few ways a project manager can instill in the team a sense of pride in the work.
  3. Leadership. Leading by example is a prime way of showing team members what it takes to get the job done. By being professional and motivating, as well as conveying the vision, a project manager can make team members realize they’re part of the solution.
  4. Conflict management. This might be the most important skill for a project manager to have. Conflicts are common and knowing how to resolve them is paramount to managing projects well. When conflicts are managed properly, it helps team members work together to meet goals. Having conflict management skills boosts a project manager’s ability to lead teams.
  5. Active listening. Here the listener isn’t just waiting to respond but takes the time to understand what’s being said. Giving feedback and restating what is heard are part of active listening. A project manager can do this by repeating, paraphrasing or reflecting on the information being presented. It’s possible to improve one’s active listening skills with practice.

The Graduate Management Admission Council lists communication and listening in the top five skills sought by employers. Eight out of 10 recruiters consider interpersonal skills more important than any other kind. Given that successful project management requires strong communication and interpersonal skills, it’s worth investing in ways to develop those skills.

The project-based learning in USI’s online MBA program serves as a hands-on environment to hone both the hard and soft skills needed for success in project management.

Learn more about USI’s online MBA program with a concentration in Project Management.


Sources:

Graduate Management Admission Council: Employers Still Seek Communication Skills in New Hires

Project Management Institute: PM – People Management or Project Management?

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