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Top 10 Personality Traits of a Project Manager
By Project Manage This

It really doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been managing projects or accounts, how much experience you’ve had with MS Project, or what clients you work with. That’s all good, but what matters is that you have the core personality traits we all share – the ones you couldn’t escape even if you wanted to. When interviewing new members for your team, or if you’re personally thinking of being a PM type, assess based on these personalities traits. Then ask about experience.

  1. Organization freak – Your friends mock you, your partner thinks you’re a little crazy. When you have down time you’re organizing your pantry, color coding your files, deciding if you want your music library organized alphabetically by artist or by genre. Sub categories? Go for it.
  2. Detail oriented – It’s not just about dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. You just get it. In every meeting you remember that minutia point that could make or break a project. You thoroughly read emails and retain what you read. Your matrices are works of art that should be framed and showcased. You’re a bit of a perfectionist. It’s OK, you’re not alone.

  3. Proactive – One step ahead, always. The artist ask for the asset you say “check your emails from yesterday,” your developer has a question about a feature you say “check the spec, page 18.” You know what your team needs before they know they need it.

  4. The Communicator – You think before you talk. Thank you for doing that by the way. You listen, you hear what was said, you respond effectively and with insight. Even better, if you don’t know the answer, you say – “great point, let me check with my team and get back to you ASAP.” You build relationships.

  5. Problem Solver – Puzzles are awesome. If your day was about solving puzzles you’d be a happy camper. Oh wait, they are.

  6. Writer – We’re not talking about the next great American novel, we’re talking about clear, concise, action oriented copy. Emails, SoWs, Functional Specs, Concept Docs, Presentations, and more emails. Bring it on.

  7. Critical Thinker – Listen, Think, Act. In that order. You look at the big picture, your full team, your client (internal or external), and your end user. Your synapses are firing at full steam. You think, you evaluate, and you find solutions.

  8. Process – No, it’s not a dirty word. It’s a good thing. Over-process is a bad thing. Finding efficiencies and finding and easy way for your team to follow them is good. Keep doing it.

  9. Decision Maker – And I’m not talking about what you want to make for dinner tonight, although you probably know because you’re so organized. You stop long winded debates and come up with a resolution. You take risks.

  10. Level Headed – 200 things are running through your brain. You know it, but no one else does. You keep your cool. You know your priorities. You get it done.

Bonus trait and one of utmost importance:

  1. Facilitator – It’s not about you. Ever. You motivate your teams, inspire confidence and make sure the people around you have what they need to do their job and do their job well.

Agree? Disagree? More to add? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Project managers, program managers, producers, account managers, coordinators, and the like. The unsung heroes. We’re the ones that keep things moving and get it done on time and on budget. We keep our teams motivated and on track, make sure our boss and/or client is happy, and ensure that the community we’re building for get the best product possible. You never see us sweat, rarely hear us swear, and are amazed at how calm we are when fires erupt. That’s because we’re good at what we do.

We absolutely love our job. Making things happen, getting things done, that’s our nature. We never ever vent at work. Ok, rarely do. But we do have tales to tell. “Project Manage This” is a place for PM types to love and hate the career we’ve chosen.

If you have a tale to tell tweet @pmthis

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