What Project Manager competencies are you missing?

What Project Manager competencies do you need to be successful as a leader and manager of a project? PMBOK has a list of them that are across competencies related to the ‘soft skills’ of people management. Work with this list to assess any weaknesses you have.


Download the FREE SWOT Template to undertake your own Skills Assessment.

Project Management training comes in two forms – the formal Prince2 and PMBOK training or the theory based courses at College’s or Universities The methodology training focuses on the methods and the rules and processes behind using that methodology i.e. Prince2 or PMBOK

The College course and University courses focus on theoretical examples of project management, again which is about the methods used, or the outcomes. These courses don’t focus on the soft skills, those interpersonal skills, that you need in order to manage or lead a team.

The key to good PMing is people management – so what sorts of skills do you need and do you understand where your own shortfalls are in these skills.

Which of these interpersonal skills are you competent at?

PMBOK has a list of the interpersonal skills needed to be a Project Manager. I like this list.  For me, there are a lot of the key attributes of a strong manager in the skills included.  Let’s look at the list:

    • Leadership

      • What does it take to be a ‘leader’? Do you feel that you have the ability to make hard decisions and be comfortable with the outcome, and by that I mean the team or team member’s response to your decision?  Are you able to take a group of people, or your whole project team on the journey of your project from start to finish? Are you able to walk side by side with the team, supporting them, as well as leading the way? Can you show them what is needed and why?
    • Team Building

      • Do you have the skills to manage building the cohesiveness required to have a team work at its best? Are you confident in bringing together the diversity that exists within it? Can you deal with conflict in a team environment?  Would you know where there were trust issues lacking and how you could deal with them?
    • Motivation

      • What is motivation? Is it knowing when someone is loving what they are doing and are passionately getting on with it?  How do you deal with a team member that has no or low motivation on your team?  Do you understand what it takes to get them happier and doing their job right here right now for your project, even if there are no long-term gains for them that they see?
    • Communication

      • What sort of language do you use as a PM? Are you confrontation in the way that you speak with team members?  Is your language passive aggressive at times?  Do you get defensive and feel unsettled when someone questions you? Do you speak your assumptions and expectations out loud?
    • Influencing

      • How strong are your influencing skills? Do you feel confident influencing an outcome for your project?  Could you get something done that was a key part of your project based on your own ability to influence?  Do you give up if you can’t influence?
    • Decision Making

      • Are you capable of making a decision and feeling confident about it? Do you procrastinate?  Do you weigh up lots and lots of information and never seem to have enough, so don’t always make a decision?  Are there times when you leave the decision making to others and then reap the consequences when it wasn’t the best decision for your project?
    • Political and Cultural Awareness

      • How politically savvy are you? Do you have a good feel for the politics in your organisation/business area/project team broadly?  Are you aware of the cultural issues at play within the organisation that you work and how these impact on your ability to manage your project?
    • Negotiation

      • Are you a good negotiator? Do you get emotional when you negotiate?  Are you the person who usually gives in or are you the one who fights to the end for your way?  Do you understand the premise and context of good negotiation in order to create a win/win situation?

Are there other skills you are missing?

What other skills are you aware of that you are missing, or where you have gaps in your knowledge?

  • Do you have trouble with time management?
  • Do you get overwhelmed with your inbox and don’t how to manage the myriad of emails that flow into it?
  • Are you project team meetings as productive as they could be?
  • What happens to you when you don’t have the right level of project support that you want, in the form of a Project Co-ordinator or a Business Analyst?
  • How are your writing skills?  Do you feel comfortable sending out key messages relating to your project, especially to Senior Executives?
  • Are you confident putting together your project reporting?  Is this something that is completely out of your control and so you wouldn’t have the faintest clue how it’s done?
  • Do you have an idea of how to put together a good quality business case?

Where are your gaps?

The aim of these Project Management Insights podcast episodes is to support you to gain knowledge in key areas where you may have gaps. The information is provided to help you perform your role in a better and easier way.

It is valuable that you consider for yourself how you work.  The best thing that you can do for you and your own growth is to consider where your weaknesses lie.  In doing that you can better manage not only how and where you gain skills to strengthen these areas, also how you can mitigate against these in your day to day work, until such time as you gain that skill.

You might also notice that there are patterns in the way that you operate with others.  These are valuable to notice and capture.  Your patterns of behavior are going to show you where you have areas that you may need to address.

Undertake a free Skills Analysis

Do an Analysis in each of these key areas to see where you might focus your knowledge building.

Download the analysis template. This simple document has some prompts for you so that you can capture your strength areas and your weak spots. I also suggest you look at the opportunities that you see. This is about where you could gain skills and knowledge in ways that you might not have considered. Also look at which areas threaten your ability to deliver a successful project every time?

There are a number of places that offer courses to support you gaining some of these much-needed skills. I have sourced some free courses that you might find valuable.

Download the FREE SWOT Template to undertake your own Skills Assessment.