senior systems designer, media engineering, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Toronto, Canada
The most important trait is the ability to delegate. An effective project manager knows who should participate in a particular job and perform the task for a section or item. It's always a good practice to get signoff from departmental managers of the individual you want to assign to a specific task. This also makes you look very methodical and respectful.
But remember, the project manager is ultimately held accountable for the success of the project regardless of whether he or she delegates work to others. So strong delegation skills include effective follow-ups; without those, delegation is little more than doling out tasks and hoping they turn out well.
Marco Antonio Solano, PhD
senior principal systems engineer, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, Dallas, Texas, USA
The most important trait is the ability to empower your team by providing an environment where members grow personally and professionally, and feel themselves vested in the project. Influence goes so far; having realistic buy-in is essential in allowing team members to take ownership. When this happens, they will go the extra mile, ingenuity flourishes and the team feels comfortable sharing bad news, which in turn enables the project manager to mitigate issues before they become unsolvable. I've benefited from this management style by seeing the team contribute extra effort when needed without being asked and develop superior solutions grown through open discussions.
Samer Kabbara, PMP
customer project manager, project office, Davidson Consulting for Ericsson, Paris, France
The most important trait is negotiation during all project phases, from initiation to closing. A good negotiator gains the trust of his or her team, sponsor, customer and other stakeholders by guiding them, explaining why they need to take a particular direction and, of course, how to get there. For instance, I negotiated with functional managers to secure a nine-month team, then explained to the team why it is important to cope with specific constraints such as time. Even though negotiation was smooth with some people and more elaborate with others, the stakeholders took my direction to execute the project.
David Wakeman, PMP
account executive, Mack Crounse Group, Washington, D.C., USA
The most important leadership trait is judgment. Often you are making a decision based on limited or imperfect information and changing circumstances, so having good judgment can keep your projects moving forward. If you have many options and none are clear, you can't be afraid to make a decision. It's better to make a decision and have to adjust to changes in the project brought on by your decision than to have a project stagnate or veer off course due to an inability to make a tough decision.
Rajahgopal Rooban Annamalai, PMP
project management office lead, Wipro Retail UK Limited, Bradford City, England
The most important trait is the ability to choose the right people at the right time and put them in the right place. In any organization, people create the processes, processes create the delivery and delivery creates the revenue. So people are the foundation of any organization, program or project. The ability of an organization to achieve its objectives depends on individuals' success.
Revenue generation, business development, quality products, margin improvement and, ultimately, an organization's success are all related to the ability to choose the right people. Training and development—i.e., coaching and mentoring—also add value to the project and the organization.
NOVEMBER 2012 PM NETWORK