If business owners have found themselves in the position of needing to hire a new project manager for their team, congratulations! Not only does this mean they are doing well enough to afford to bring on a new employee, but also that they have a new opportunity to re-energize the project team with fresh, savvy and competent leadership.
The task in hiring a new project manager is to identify the candidates with the educational, technical and interpersonal characteristics that make them the best fit for the job. Educational and technical qualifications will vary by industry, but the interpersonal qualities that make for a top-notch project manager are universal.
Following are eight interpersonal characteristics that successful and respected project managers in any industry possess. Business owners need to look for these qualities when considering applicants for a project management position.
Does the applicant communicate in a way that others can understand, as well as listen to others so they feel understood? Good project managers can share in a way that makes people feel motivated, and as though their actions are an integral part of the project’s success. When people are highly connected, everyone they interact with feels seen, heard, valued and respected.
Does the applicant recognize the extrinsic and intrinsic value of each person who they relate to on the project? The ideal candidate should be inclusive and able to bring people together and creating a harmonious, positive and uplifting environment.
Does the applicant pay attention to the small details that help others feel cared for? The best project managers show up on time to meetings, are prepared, listen to all points of view, and can relieve tension with kindness and understanding.
Does the applicant know how to include others in decision-making in ways that leverage each person’s innate strengths while continuing to move the project forward? Successful project managers have the tools to quickly bring the team to consensus and are able to use differences, when they arise, to make the team stronger, more nimble and more responsive to changes.
Can the applicant resolve challenges in unique and unusual ways, while not getting stuck in the “there is only one best solution” way of thinking that can derail problem-solving?
When things don’t go the way the applicant wants them to, will they be able to find the silver lining, develop alternative approaches and create an uplifting and inspiring “go for it” attitude in others?
Do challenges activate the applicant’s creativity? Great project managers often come up with their most creative solutions when faced with the most daunting problems. They also look for creative ways to meet the project objectives and rarely get stuck in the mindset of “we’ve always done it this way.”
Do they have a well-trained mind that can learn and shift quickly? The strongest candidates will be quick to pick up on changes in mood relating to the external environment impacting their projects and adapt their approach to best meet the bigger-picture objectives, while continuing to press forward to complete their project.
Candidates who possess all eight of these characteristics are likely to be strong contenders for a project management position, regardless of other qualifications they hold. Nevertheless, hiring the right project manager requires business owners to take a closer look at the technical, experiential and educational requirements for the job.