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Project Manager Skills

So many are needed for success!

I recently posted a question on LinkedIn asking individuals their thoughts on the “one skill” that is a must have for project managers. We all know, of course, that many skills are necessary for project managers to be successful – there is no one skill. The challenge in this question was determining what one skill stands out from the others. There is no right or wrong answer – much depends on the project management role, the type of organization in which the project manager works, how valued project management is within the organization, the types and complexity of the projects managed, as well as the stakeholders with whom the project manager interacts.

The table below lists the skills/behaviors respondents to the question noted as important for project managers to be successful:

  • Critical thinking
  • Communications – the right message at the right time to the right people
  • Integrity
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Manners
  • Experience with failure
  • Honesty
  • Relationship builder
  • Leadership


  • Commerciality
  • Outcome vs problem focus
  • Patience
  • Lean driven
  • Entrepreneurial
  • A sense of humor
  • Remain calm in a crisis
  • Great (“active”) listener
  • Change management
  • Strong sense of the lessons of history
  • Strong sense of reality and pragmatism


  • Ethical
  • Professional humbleness
  • Committed and engaged
  • Ability to engage stakeholders
  • Grit
  • Speak up
  • Compassion
  • People competence
  • Consistency
  • Set and reinforce expectations

For any project manager, a combination of technical and, perhaps even more importantly, critical/leadership/soft (people) skills are absolutely essential for success as a project manager.

What skills do you believe project managers need to be successful? Are we missing any from this list?

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