What’s The Number One Skill of an Effective Project Manager?

Ask ten project managers what project management skill is most important to them, and you’ll end up with ten different answers. If you are familiar with the PMBOK® Guide, then you should understand that not all knowledge areas carry the same weight for each person. The most important skill is subjective depending on the size and nature of the project, such as whether it’s for an internal or external client, whether the project manager has profit and loss responsibility, and the criticality of the competing constraints.

I think the number one skill that project managers need is the ability to cope under (often extreme) pressure and stress. You can be Magna Cum Laude in project management education, yet fail as a project manager because of poor coping skills. Human resource management skills are now taking precedence.

Poor coping skills on the job can have an impact on one’s home life, as well. In the early years of project management, having a command of technology in a technical discipline was considered more important than behavioral factors. People with poor human skills, especially coping skills, were assigned as project managers solely because of technical superiority.

How many husbands or wives understand what their spouse does as a project manager?  It’s probably just a small percentage. Years ago, I conducted two seminars on “Understanding Your Spouse’s Profession as a Project Manager”; the only people allowed to attend were the spouses. It was my belief that spouses can help project managers develop better coping skills if they truly understand what it means to be a project manager.

Perhaps you found this interesting. In any event, I have no intent to resurrect this seminar.

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6 thoughts on “What’s The Number One Skill of an Effective Project Manager?

    • Hi we appreciate your comment. At this moment, Dr. Kerzner is not interested but please feel free to connect with him here on his blog and facebook page. We thank you so much for your connection.

  1. I agree that behavioral skills are getting more and more attention as one main leadership trait of successful managers.. Therefore, I believe that EQ is more or equal in importance than IQ for a successful project manager.

  2. Innate ability to perform human as every system within human in close coordination without hampering each other. Manage human as human by motivational theories will definitely lead to successful Project manager. EQ is must & IQ catalyzes it. Dr. Harold had contributed to the field to large extent….

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