5 traits CIOs should look for in project managers

Finding top talent to handle critical IT projects can be tough. Here’s how to spot those that stand out from the crowd.

1. They’re great at bringing people together
An important element that differentiates great project managers from others is that they actually get to know their team members and stakeholders well. This connection on a personal level helps to understand what makes them tick. They use this understanding to create the right motivation that results in increased productivity as well as employee satisfaction. It helps PMs resolve conflicts, build coalitions, and increase employee engagement, helping the team work together as one cohesive unit.

2. They can influence stakeholders and sponsors
It’s a given that project managers have to have excellent communication skills. But it’s equally important that they have the ability to understand and motivate a variety of stakeholders and sponsors so as to make the project a success. They should have to ability to generate confidence and respect so as to motivate and help them progress in the desired direction. As with any big project, there are bound to be differing opinions and personalities that can clash if not handled properly. That’s where a PM’s ability to influence comes in handy. Without the support of these key people, a project is likely to fail.

3. They realise the value of failure and accountability
Good leaders have the confidence to admit when they are wrong and hold themselves accountable for the results. This sends a strong message about integrity and honesty to the team. They will value the openness and have greater faith in the leadership, helping build an environment of trust.

4. They always expect problems
Great project managers are the ones who, like Alfred A Montapert famously said,  “Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.” Planning well and in advance is obviously key, but it is also important to not lose your balance when things start going awry. Large projects are often fraught with uncertainty and you require a project manager who will be able to create order in the chaos and help people focus on the end goal. The tech world is changing and evolving every day, throwing up different, disruptive challenges along the way. You need a PM who can take them in his/her stride and work towards finding a solution with the team.

5. They’re good at sniffing out potential roadblocks
Being able to predict problems is a must-have skill when it comes to project managers. Efficient PMs know they can never rest easy; they systematically and frequently re-evaluate processes, assets, progress, budgets and timelines to check for any deviations/disruptions that might have gone unnoticed and uncover issues that wouldn’t have been discovered till it was too late.

Photograph: Katemangostar/ 

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