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Must-have Personality Traits for a Successful Project Manager


Roles and responsibilities of a project manager have dynamically changed over the past years as the project management methodologies have changed from predictive models (e.g., Waterfall) to adaptive models (e.g., agile, Scrum) in the last decade. Project manager in conventional projects and scrum master in Agile/Scrum projects plays a leadership role to motivate the team, conflict management and to ensure the team is in alignment with organization vision and mission. Personality traits reflect one individual’s characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Success of a project manager and the team is correlated to the personality trait of the project manager.

A good project manager should have seven personality traits as presented below:

1) Listening: One of the key personality traits of a project manager is to be a good listener. An active listener can resolve any conflict or problem situation with six simple techniques: Paying attention to the conversation. Open mind to ideas, reflecting on thoughts, Clarifying unclear communication, reflecting on other’s ideas, summarizing the conversation and sharing the thoughts. A good listener project manager provides plenty of opportunity for all team members to be heard, and then, listen carefully to what is communicated and potentially what is not communicated.

2) Empathy: Empathetic project managers take an honest interest in project team members’ wellbeing– what makes the project team suffer, what motivates them and the way they feel. They assess why certain people show a particular behavior, and this skill helps the project managers to become great leaders who can connect with different types of people and tailor their leadership style depending on who they are interacting with. Empathy helps to build increased trust, better team building, empower team in decision making and enhanced influence.

3) Problem Solving Approach: In the modern world, an ideal project manager should be open to new ideas and should challenge the status quo to identify and motivate the project team to explore out of box solutions. In the complex world of today’s project management it is critical for project managers to open to different solutions and to ensure project objectives are met despite various impediments, obstacles and blockers.

4) Self-Awareness: Self awareness is the ability to know your own feelings, identifying strength and awareness, knowing emotional triggers and confidence of taking the decisions for a based possible outcome. A good project manager should be able to estimate the emotional health of the project team and ensure negative emotions do not impact future endeavors. Self-awareness essentially consists of three components-emotional awareness, accurate self assessment and self-confidence. This helps the project team to recover from any setback and motivates them to drive for new challenges. 

5) Resolve Conflict: Conflict is inevitable in project management. Moving from predictive to adaptive model attracts more probability of conflicts in terms of priorities, solution approach, estimations and timelines. A good project manager should have mastery in conflict resolution.

6) Foresight: A good project manager should be able to anticipate future events and can visualize the future challenges through experience, learning and analysis of past trends.

7) Ethics: Project managers should follow ethical practice and take unbiased best possible decisions concerning people, resources and the environment. Project management ethical framework is governed by 4 parametershonesty, responsibility, respect and fairness. A good project manager should follow ethical practice and promote the ethical culture in the team. 

For a project manager, getting a PMP Certification can help develop the right set of personality traits which is critical for the success of the role.


Your success in your professional life is frequently influenced by your personal traits. You ought to have talked about features if you want to succeed as a project manager.

Additionally, a project manager must be on time and have excellent time management skills to prevent project delays. Being an excellent project manager is not simple. Every step of the way calls for tolerance, tenacity, and the capacity for critical thought.

The good news is that nothing is preventing you from learning these abilities. This post should offer you a general idea of the things you need to work on to become a better project manager.

Schedule a free call with ProThoughts consultant & get to know how you can become a successful project manager.

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