Project Management Skills to Succeed at Work

7 min readJan 20, 2021

In the field of project management, it is not easy to choose a delegate to execute projects with flying colors. The chosen leader has to possess an outstanding set of professional project management skills and competencies. Statistics also forecast that the need for management-oriented roles will increase to nearly 90 million in the next 5 years.

2021 has arrived. Probably it’s the right time to embrace yourself and speed up on the way to success. To do that, you should acquire different project management skills and competencies. Keep in mind that the skills on top priorities are soft skills we list below.

Let’s explore them thoroughly, and try to get as much as you can!

#1. Leadership

Some people may think that leadership skills are inborn and cannot be trained. But it does not exactly work that way, since we need practices to unleash our full potential. As a project leader, you have to shoulder burdens not only from work but also from workplace relationships. It requires you to encourage unconfident staff and settle conflicts.

A dedicated leader is expected to lead the way from beginning to completion, and make sure that the project is delivered on time, on budget, and on scope. He or she should be excellent at analyzing situations and making decisions to quickly respond to contingencies.

Project management is not only about non-human resources management, but also about human resources management. Furthermore, leadership style could vary significantly, depending on the project’s nature and the leader’s personality.

#2. Negotiation

Have you ever regretted such a moment that could have been reversed if you had been more proficient at negotiating? Perhaps you were too late to realize the perks of negotiation.

Negotiation abilities will open up more opportunities to gain the best that facilitates your team’s performance. If not, you may, unfortunately, lose advantages in comparative battle.

To a project manager, the top priority is to gain a win-win result under any circumstances and bring about the best value to your clients, stakeholders and employees. For that reason, negotiation skill is considered as one of the critical soft skills that a manager must possess.

#3. Communication

Most soft skills typically go hand in hand with each other, and what we introduce to you here is not exceptional. In order to acquire the aforementioned skills, you must first equip yourself with communication skills. This is indeed regarded as the foundation for other project management skills to be nourished.

Communication is much more than just talking and listening. It is about being willing to come out of your comfort zone to share ideas and connect with other people. It is also about how to choose words which may defeat your rivals, make stakeholders happy and bring good advantages to your business.

It is true to say that a wise manager needs to be first a good speaker. And when it comes to a project, the manager needs to communicate his/her strategies, visions and requirements to empower the all team members.

#4. Team building

One of the things that you should urgently start working on if you want to become an aspiring leader is team building.

Bringing people from different fields into a matching team is quite demanding, and the project manager has to ensure that each individual’s interests are in line with the overall goals of the organization. He or she should also know what it takes to create a good working environment to increase the employee retention rate.

Solving internal conflicts and evaluating work performance effectively set the ground for team building. The final goal is to empower the team by polishing their skills and help them unleash their full potential.

#5. Critical Thinking

In the changing world today, critical thinking should be adapted for everyone, not just project managers in particular. We think, we listen, but the way we react and respond to a series of things is more important.

Critical thinking is one of the most important skills that every project manager must acquire. You are expected to be as objective as you can in analyzing and evaluating any issue to avoid forming an unbiased judgement.

It prevents you from acting on emotions or on received knowledge. You’re faced with problems every day when you’re working on a project, and you want your decisions to be impartial. The only thing guiding your decision should be what’s best for the project.

#6. Risk Management

It is impossible to execute a project without any risks. So, as a project manager, why do you need excellent risk management skills?

This type of skill allows you to identify the strengths, the weaknesses, the chances, and even the threats against your project. You are responsible for pointing out the risk factors during the life cycle of your project, reviewing and assessing how they affect, and controlling these risks by preparing the potential solutions in advance.

However, you can’t predict all problems that might take place in the future. In the case that an unanticipated issue comes up, make sure that you already had a risk response plan to minimize negative influences.

#7. Organizational savvy

An outstanding project manager has to be aware of the importance of organizational savvy. You need to gain a comprehensive understanding of every aspect of your team — from the objectives, the motivations, to the structure, the culture and norms, the political factors, etc.

Don’t be afraid of asking and listening. By proactively and continuously keeping up to date on how your teammates are working, you will get a better view of the overall picture and improve decision making. Keep in mind that as a project manager, you have a profound impact on your team players. Hence, it is essential to show your enthusiasm, sympathy, confidence, and open-mindedness to cultivate collaboration within your organization.

#8. Project management tools & techniques

You are living in a fast-paced world. Along with the ever-changing development of technology, the ability to get adapted to new tools and techniques can be considered as one of the crucial project management skills and competencies.

In the era of Covid-19, when everybody is locked down within their house, technological tools make the work-from-home process operate smoothly and effectively. Just spend some minutes searching on the internet, you can find out a large number of useful project management tools and techniques for every sort of use, including task management, communication, scheduling, budget tracking, and so on.

Trust me, those powerful tools will play an essential role in your project’s implementation.

#9. Flexibility and Adaptability

What should you do if an important staff member suddenly takes time off from work?

What should you do if till the last days of the project you realize a budget deficit?

What should you do if the end-user products of your team get rejected by customers time by time?

During the life cycle of a project, a manager has to handle numerous changes and unanticipated problems. It requires you to be willing to adapt to any situation, prepare a flexible plan, and get ready to change your project.

In addition, flexibility and adaptability — the key project management skills and competencies — also involve your ability to gain, learn, and use new ideas and knowledge.

#10. Confidence and commitment

A good project manager not only shows his/her confidence even in the period of crisis but also encourages the self-confidence of every individual in the team. In the worst case, keep calm and lead everybody to find an efficient solution.

A confident manager will help employees feel more engaged and enthusiastic about their job, which contributes to increasing the overall productivity of the team.

Besides, you need to focus on keeping your words. Bear in mind that it is vital to be careful with any commitment as a leader, since building your reputation and trustworthiness is also part of project management skills and competencies.

Is it over?

No, of course. A remarkable project manager needs more than these 10 skills and competencies to lead a team to achieve success. In this article, we just mentioned the most foundational and important ones, and that could be a good beginning for a PM.

If you still have any questions, feel free to leave your comment to let us know. And if you find this post informative, why don’t you give us a share?




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