KWDA - inc.
KWDA = Certainty of Execution

Attributes of a Leader and Great Project Manager

The PM has to be able to manage people, bring teams together when necessary and, most importantly, keep the design and construction teams focused on the goals of the project. PM’s have to understand the individuals and their personalities, what makes them tick, which ones favor the carrot and which ones respond best to the stick. There is no simple strategy that can apply, the PM has to be able to understand the people on the project and demonstrate true leadership.


The PM can’t do that with a CPM schedule or sitting in the office all day pushing paper. You have to make it personal; make a connection with each person and make sure they care about the project. The following are attributes of leaders and great project managers:

Inspires a Shared Vision - an effective project leader must have a vision of where to go and the ability to articulate it.


A Good Communicator - the ability to communicate with people at all levels is an important skill for project managers. Project leadership calls for clear communication about goals, responsibility, performance, expectations and feedback. Great value is placed on openness and directness. The leader must have the ability to effectively negotiate and use persuasion when necessary to ensure the success of the team and project. Through effective communication, project leaders support individual and team achievements by creating explicit guidelines for accomplishing results.


Collaborator - keep communication flowing; ensure that the design and construction teams share the common goal of a successful project. The project team is often described as a 3-legged stool.  (1) Owner / PM, (2) Architect / Designer and (3) Contractor. The PM must ensure all team members understand when only one leg fails the stool falls over.


Integrity - one of the most important things a project leader must remember is that his or her actions, and not words, set the modus operandi for the team. Good leadership demands commitment to, and demonstration of, ethical practices. Creating standards for ethical behavior for oneself and living by these standards are responsibilities of project leaders. Leadership motivated by self-interest does not serve the well being of the team. Leadership based on integrity represents a set of values others share.


Passionate - leaders must not be negative. Leaders must be enthusiastic, with a can-do attitude.  Leaders are committed to their goals and express this commitment through optimism. Enthusiasm is contagious and effective leaders know it.


Unflappable unfortunately most projects have problems. Leaders with a hardy attitude will take these problems in stride. When leaders encounter a stressful event, they consider it interesting, they feel they can influence the outcome and they see it as an opportunity bring their skills to bear.


Team-Building Skills - a team builder is best defined as a strong person who provides the substance that holds the team together in common purpose toward the right objective. The leader must also have an understanding of the different team players styles and how to capitalize on each at the proper time.


Problem Solving Skills - an effective project manager must have excellent problem solving skills. Project managers must be able to bring creative solutions to project problems using their experience and basic problem solving skills.