We all know a great project manager (PM), and perhaps you are one. Those are rare individuals who consistently deliver on time, on budget, or exceed the objectives of the projects they lead. 

What makes these people exceptional? At times, great PMs may not be able to recite the guidebook or other PM frameworks so what is their secret? 

Good PMs tend to have these skills: 

  • Instincts 
  • Superior judgement and decision-making skills 
  • Clarity in purpose and action/single-mindedness of purpose 
  • Ability to inspire and connect 
  • Ability to persuade 
  • Ability to facilitate, build and align consensus 

Most exceptional PMs have developed these additional capabilities: 

  • A collaborative mindset 
  • Empathy 
  • A “whatever it takes” attitude 
  • The ability to build trust and confidence with others 

Of course, seasoned PMs having experience in multiple industries, expertise in specific applications and environments, and a sense of when things are not adding up is also beneficial. Although there are many necessary skills in project management, empathy in leadership is a foundational requirement. However, it plays a different role than you might think and is a relatively new skill valued by PMs. 

Empathy in a business context 

Empathy is “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions; and the ability to share someone else’s feelings.” 

Empathy can be difficult for some and easy for others but don’t let it scare you. The word used in the context of PMs means more than just sharing and understanding everyone’s feelings and emotions. Project Managers at Management Solutions are in tune with their team to the point of knowing when someone is uncomfortable, unsure, or struggling. When these situations occur, we adjust our approaches to adapt to situations because we know that different people need unique styles of leadership. If you want to transition from being a good PM to being a great PM, making sure you have these skills is imperative.