Seven Leadership Competencies All Project Managers Need

Seven Leadership Competencies All Project Managers Need

Project management requires specific competencies beyond technical skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities. This article will discuss seven leadership competencies that all project managers need to succeed.

Strategic Thinking:

Project managers must be able to think strategically to foresee risks and opportunities, set clear project goals, and devise a strategy to accomplish them. They must also be able to see the future, establish goals, and make informed decisions based on data and market trends. Strategic thinking enables project managers to be proactive rather than reactive, prioritizing tasks, distributing resources, and optimizing project outcomes.


Effective communication is essential for project managers. They need to be able to articulate their vision, set expectations, and provide regular updates to stakeholders. They must also listen actively to their team members’ concerns, feedback, and suggestions. Good communication skills help project managers establish trust and build relationships with team members, customers, and other stakeholders.

Team Management:

Project managers must be skilled in managing a team of diverse individuals with different backgrounds, skills, and personalities. In addition, they need to understand how to motivate and engage their team members, establish clear roles and responsibilities, and build a culture of collaboration and accountability. Good team management skills involve conflict resolution, coaching, and mentoring team members to help them grow and develop their skills.


Project management involves dealing with uncertainty, complexity, and change. Therefore, project managers must be adaptable and able to adjust their plans and strategies to meet unexpected challenges or opportunities. They must think on their feet, make quick decisions, and pivot when necessary. Good adaptability skills also involve being open to feedback and learning from mistakes to improve future performance.

Time Management:

Project managers must manage time, set goals, and ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. Furthermore, they must be able to prioritize tasks, establish timelines, and efficiently manage resources to meet project goals. Delegating tasks and managing multiple responsibilities is essential to managing time.

Problem-Solving Ability:

Project managers must be able to identify problems, analyze data, and create solutions to complex issues. Furthermore, they must think critically and creatively, collaborate with their team members, and use data and proof to inform their decision-making. Good problem-solving skills are:

  • Part of identifying underlying causes.
  • Anticipating potential issues.
  • Developing contingency plans to mitigate risks.

Emotional Intelligence:

Project managers must be emotionally intelligent and able to manage their emotions and those of their team members. They need to be able to read and respond to emotional cues, manage conflict, and build relationships based on trust and mutual respect. Good emotional intelligence skills also involve:

  • Adapting to different communication styles.
  • Managing stress.
  • Maintaining a positive attitude in challenging situations.


Project managers require a set of leadership competencies that go beyond technical skills. They must be skilled in strategic thinking, communication, team management, adaptability, time management, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence. These competencies help project managers motivate and engage their team members, ensure that projects are delivered on time and within budget, and build a culture of collaboration, accountability, and continuous improvement.

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