How to Become the Most Compelling Project Manager You Will Ever Know

Every project is a story. Projects begin and end. Plots and subplots abound. Interesting characters interact and react, with good and evil motives. Are you a compelling project manager who commands the ship?

10 Attributes of a Compelling Project Manager

Some project managers act in boring and predictable manners. Others capture and hold your attention. You can't wait to see the next chapter. What makes some project leaders so captivating and believable?

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1. Integrity. Compelling project managers use different methods, tools, and techniques in a unified manner. Good project managers integrate the  pieces into a cohesive whole. They create products and services using the knowledge areas such as communications management, risk management, cost management, and schedule management.

2. Humility.  C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” The best project managers are those who are bold and decisive but also humble. Humble project managers listen. They know they don’t have all the answers.

3. Selfless. Some project managers are self-absorbed individuals. Others ask team members what they hope to get out of the project and use the feedback when planning the project. These project managers see every project as an opportunity to help their team members grow.

"Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." —Warren Bennis

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4. Focused. Goethe said, “The things that matter most must never be at the mercy of the things that matter least.” Project leaders help team members maintain laser-like focus on the things that matter most, the achievement of the project objectives. 

5. Visionary. Leaders have vision. These project managers describe the future state in a winsome manner. Many team members are willing to bear any difficulty to reach the destination.

picture of a compelling project manager

6. Peaceable. Projects are filled with conflict over schedules, resources, process, strategy, and what kind of pizza to order (just kidding). Are you the type of leader who knows how to turn conflict on its head? Seek to transform discord into an opportunity to solve problems together as a team.

7. Likable. Give team members a choice of working with a leader they like and one who is unlikeable, and they will choose the likable leader every time. Individuals want to work with people who are compassionate, who listen, and who like to have fun now and then. Additionally, team members are more willing to be responsive to likable leaders.

8. Risk Taker. Projects are filled with uncertainty. Every activity we undertake, and every decision we make involves risk. Furthermore, compelling project managers do their homework and take courageous steps each day to move projects forward.

9. Rewarder. The best project managers make their projects rewarding and fulfilling. They celebrate milestones and recognize their team members. And these project managers genuinely appreciate their team members; they understand the value of saying thank you.

10. Collaborative. Lastly, compelling project managers collaborate with their team members when developing project plans. These project managers understand team dynamics—engaging the team while planning ensures better buy-in and cooperation downstream in the execution of the project.

How About You?

What are you doing to become a compelling project manager? Take a few minutes to review this list of attributes and identify the ones that you wish to further develop. For example, be a rewarder. Take tangible steps this week to thank your team members. Your best days are ahead! 

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