What Makes a Great Project Manager?

This is a guest post from Leisa Lockwood from Zenus Recruitment.

I had a conversation recently with someone who is new to the Project Management game. He said, I know what makes a great Project Manager…”keeping everyone happy”.

Well, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard a PM say that which got me to thinking…

When I look back at the last 17 years of my recruitment career, I have never heard a PM say those words. I can quote many a PM who has said that a good PM delivers “on time and within budget”.

But to what cost?

If you consistently fail to deliver what your customers want, then perhaps project management is not for you. This includes upsetting too many people along the way.

So from what I can gather, Project Management is a delicate balancing act of ego’s, politics, tracking EVERYTHING and doing your best to deliver. In some large and complex organisation where on-time delivery is a foreign concept, you’ve got to be content with having done your best, even if it means it’s late.

With all of this going on in your workplace you’re probably feeling rather spent at the end of each day and for most of you, you will have little downtime before the onslought of family laugh begins in the evening.

So, to put my own opinion into what makes a good Project Manager, I would like to propose these two words “Mental Health”.

Taking time out for yourself in a meaningful way is absolutely critical to the performance of a good Project Manager. Those that I have seen thrive and survive many years in the job have all had one thing in common – ‘me time’. This doesn’t necessarily mean neglecting the family and popping off to a Gold Class movie with a glass of Shiraz either.

I’ve seen all manner of ‘me time’ – lunchtime jogging, after work swimming, early morning meditation, yoga classes, lunching with a ‘someone who gets it’ (or a trained Counsellor if you need it), a quick walk, listening to music, playing music…whatever it takes. Don’t give up and don’t give in when it comes to ‘me time’. It is critical to your health (both physical and mental) and therefore your happiness, the happiness of your family and ultimately, a positive attitude that leads to success in the workplace.

And as Jim Rohn said, “Either you run the day, or the day runs you”…so make it how you want it!

Leisa Lockwood

Director Zenus Recruitment



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