8 Essential Soft Skills For Project Managers To Succeed.

Home The Savvy PM Blog 8 Essential Soft Skills For Project Managers To Succeed.

Project managers must possess various soft skills to manage projects successfully from start to finish. Soft skills are less tangible but no less important. These skills are essential for project managers to complete the project on time, within budget, and with high-quality results.

This article will cover 8 essential soft skills for project managers to deliver projects successfully.

Effective Leadership

Effective leadership is a critical soft skill for project managers. A project team typically consists of both technical and non-technical staff members, and the project managers must be able to lead and motivate the team to accomplish the project.

As a leader, the project manager will need to set a clear vision and help the team stay focused. There will be times when the project manager must deal with challenging situations and make difficult decisions.

Leadership for project managers involves setting goals, inspiring the team, making decisions in difficult situations, and providing guidance throughout the process. A good leader should be able to identify potential obstacles and develop strategies to help reach the goal while motivating their team members.

Building A Cohesive Team

Team building is an essential soft skill for project managers. For a project team to succeed, the project managers need to set ground rules and establish an inclusive environment where everyone feels safe and able to collaborate and work efficiently. 

Project managers must recognize team members’ strengths and weaknesses and assign tasks that suit their abilities accordingly. The project managers should foster a sense of camaraderie among the team members and resolve conflicts so they can work together productively and enjoy coming to work.

With strong team-building skills, project managers can help their team members work productively and successfully to achieve their goals.

Strong Problem Solver

Problem-solving is another key soft skill for project managers to succeed.

Project managers must be creative problem solvers and develop solutions when faced with difficult situations. They also have to communicate effectively with stakeholders and team members so that they can identify and address any issues that arise.

Problem-solving skills allow project managers to anticipate problems before they occur and develop strategies for dealing with them in a timely manner. Strong problem-solving skills enable project managers to take on challenges and do their job more confidently.

Excellent Communication Skill

Successful project management requires excellent communication skills. The project manager must communicate effectively with internal and external stakeholders involved in the project. The stakeholders typically include the project team members, sponsors, customers, and vendors.

Project managers need to communicate clearly with technical and non-technical personnel. Ideally, project managers can explain complex concepts in a simple manner so that everyone can understand them.

Project managers with excellent communication skills can foster better collaboration among team members and build trust with all parties involved in the project. By communicating effectively, project managers will find it easier to maintain the necessary support required for the project.

Additionally, project managers must possess excellent listening skills to effectively address any concerns or issues raised by stakeholders during a project.

Good Negotiator

Negotiation is another important soft skill for project managers to be successful.

The project managers may need to negotiate with various stakeholders for additional resources, priorities, milestones, deadlines, conflicts, compromises, and changes to the project.

The project managers will have to facilitate meetings and listen actively. By doing so, the project manager will better understand the needs of all parties involved, be able to set expectations and find a solution that works for everyone.

Good negotiation skills can help project managers reach mutually beneficial agreements that are in the best interests of the project and all stakeholders involved.

Stay Organized

Having strong organizational skills is crucial for project managers to succeed. It is the key to managing all aspects of the project and ensuring all tasks are completed on time and within budget.

There are many things that project managers may have to manage for a project, such as people, tasks, milestones, budgets, scope, defects, quality, deadlines, and risks. With many moving parts, project managers must have good organizational skills to stay on top of the project.

Strong organization skills will help managers identify and prioritize the most important tasks while keeping the team members’ progress on track. Staying organized helps create efficiencies and complete projects on time and within budget.

Without proper organization, project managers will struggle to keep up with various moving parts of a project and find themselves overwhelmed. There will likely be tasks or defects that fall through the crack and lead to project delays.

Critical Thinker

The ability to think critically is another essential soft skill for any project manager.

Project managers will need critical thinking skills to evaluate data, analyze problems, and determine the best solution. Being a critical thinker also helps them make informed decisions about resources, budgeting, and timelines.

Critical thinking skill is crucial for analyzing various moving parts of the project and a large amount of data to determine the best strategies and solutions to meet the project objective. With critical thinking skills, project managers can better understand their team’s needs and create efficient and effective plans.

Ultimately, critical thinking helps project managers succeed by enabling them to make better decisions that will lead to successful outcomes for their organization.

Adaptable To Changes

Adaptability is a key skill for project managers to manage projects successfully in any environment.

Project managers will need to be able to adapt quickly based on internal and external factors that may impact the project. Project managers need to be able to adjust their approach and methodology according to the changing needs of a project.

Internally, the project manager should know the company culture, team members, financial situation, and how the project fits into the organization’s overall goals. Externally, they should be able to understand the client’s industry, local regulations, and laws that may impact the job.

Adaptability is an important soft skill for any successful project manager because it allows them to make good decisions when needed and anticipate potential problems before they arise. With this skill set, a project manager can lead projects more effectively by understanding how changes can affect a project’s success or failure.

Adaptability also helps project managers build strong relationships with team members and customers by adapting their communication styles according to different situations.

Next Step

Do you have these soft skills?

If you have these essential soft skills and are looking to become a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®), Velociteach offers both self-paced and instructor-led virtual boot camp training that earns a top rating on PMAspirant.

These courses provide comprehensive instruction on all aspects of project management and focus on helping you further develop the project management skills necessary to manage projects successfully from start to finish.


Andrew Shih is a certified PMP and founder of PMAspirant.com, where he shares his experience and helps project management aspirants with PMP certification.