What characteristics make a good project manager?

According to data collected from the supervisors of project managers in 11 different organizations around the world, effective project managers display a reasonably consistent set of personality characteristics. Whilst there is no single personality profile for an effective project manager, most effective project managers (from their supervisor’s point of view) are:
Conscientious – sticks to deadlines, completes jobs, perseveres with routine, and likes fixed schedules
Vigorous – thrives on activity, likes to keep busy, and enjoys having a lot to do
Controlling – takes charge, directs, manages, organizes, and supervises others
Socially confident – comfortable with strangers and likes to put others at ease
Evaluative – critically evaluates information, looks for potential limitations, and focuses upon errors
Persuasive – enjoys selling, changes opinions of others, convinces with arguments, and negotiates
Behavioural – analyses thoughts and action, psychologically minded, and likes to understand people

These traits that make a good project manager are quite different to the attributes of a competent planner and scheduler as defined in Mosaic’s core paper at: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/PDF/Attributes_of_a_Scheduler.pdf

There was considerably more consistency among the ratings for behavioural competencies than for personality characteristics. Competence is defined as a combination of knowledge, skills, experience, demonstrable performance and personal capability, which includes attitudes, motivation, behaviours and personality characteristics. For more on competency see: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1056_Competency.pdf

The most important behavioural competencies deemed essential to a superior-performing project manager were:
– Planning and Organizing
– Delivering Results and Meeting Customer Expectations
– Deciding and initiating action
– Leading and supervising
– Persuading and influencing

The behaviours expected of project managers included:
– Identifying and organizing resources needed to accomplish tasks
– Consistently achieving project goals
– Taking responsibility for actions, projects and goals
– Initiating and generating activity
– Delegating work appropriately and fairly
– Gaining clear agreement and commitment from others

The research this blog is based on was undertaken by Alicia Aitken and Lynn Crawford of Bond University, Australia. To see more, read their paper on PM Perspectives at: http://pmperspectives.org/article.php?view=full&aid=33

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