February 28, 2021
Succession Planning 08 February 2017
7 Skills Found in Successful Project Managers
Erica Hipp
project manager, what does a project manager do

Looking to fill a manager position? Your next project manager could be one your current employees! 

Let's start with a very general definition of what the position of Project Manager might entail. In this role, a person is basically the overseer of a project.  As the leader of the group, they are vital to making decisions, communicating with employees and customers, and making it a success. They plan, help design, and control almost all aspects of a project.

That was a very, very broad definition, but hopefully, it helps draw a picture for you.

Whether you’re looking to hire from within or to find the right candidate from the outside, look for these seven essential traits.


        This skill is always an important one. Regardless of position, you want employees, to have the ability to convey information in a clear, cohesive, and sometimes humorous way. However, writing skills have become even more important with the coming of social media, online forums, and even blogs (like this). These require someone who can create content quickly and concisely. Project managers need this skill to help market, plan, and execute their projects. 

Ask for writing samples or previous work from potential employees to see if their writing skills are up to par. 



        The ability to conduct research may be one of the most important skills a person can have for a project management position. Research is needed to support ideas and arguments, designing opinion polls or surveys to find out information, or finding a variety of viewpoints and sources. This is a great skill to have in your project managers. In order to create a project, they need to research previous projects that are similar, see how well those did, and see if any information can help their work.



        When creating a project, manager's work should be well thought out, and carefully developed. Just like in school, when students write an essay you don’t want them to rush. Instead, they should plan with an outline, do research, and then carefully go through and make adjustments as needed. With planning skills, comes time-management and organizational skills. These are essential to ensure that deadlines are met and issues are resolved before they become big problems.

 To evaluate these skills in your current employees or potential ones, have them take on a project for you. See if they can meet deadlines, be organized, and come up with some great ideas. 

Social Media

        In today’s society, it is almost always a requirement that employers have knowledge of social media (and in some cases expertise). Everyone, especially younger generations, such as millennials, are constantly using social media. Project managers need to know what is trending on social media sites, and how to reach their particular audiences. Check out this post about why social media marketing is on the rise.

The above skills are more of what we would call hard skills. Now let’s take a look a look at some soft skills that project managers should have!


Verbal Communication

        Project managers will be spending a lot of their time communicating- with design teams, with social media teams, etc. They must have the ability to effectively communicate with different groups of people, including the audience they are trying to reach. They must be able to clearly explain their project goals, problems, and ideas, in front of both large and small groups.


Problem Solving

        When creating and implementing projects, problems will arise. People that are able to quickly identify and creatively solve problems are the people that will rise to the top. Higher management will see that they are able to solve issues before they become catastrophes, and they will like it.



        Being a leader comes with lots of skills in itself (communication, planning, time management etc). However being able to lead in project management will be so vital to the success of your company or organization because when your managers can lead a group of people effectively and clearly, the delivery of their project will be much better.

 You want someone who can delegate work to others, help when needed, and manage all the teams you have working together. So try and identify leadership skills in current employees. Who is standing out to you? 


Now you know what traits to look for in your next manager position. But how do you test or evaluate candidates’ skills? Put together different projects or challenges to have your potential candidates complete. This will not only test their abilities, but you can also see how they work under pressure and if they can meet deadlines. Give them the chance to wow you!

Thanks for reading!