What personality best fits the Project Manager title?

confident-young-female-project-managerProject managers seem to be in a lot of different industries.  For example, construction, business, technology, education, and more all use the position of Project Manager to steer the ship, promote efficiency, and view the project as a whole to communicate a realistic view to their teams of where work needs to be prioritized.  But what happens if you are trying to get in to the profession?  A question you might be asking yourself is “What does it take to be a Project Manager?” or “What personality traits do I need to be a Project Manager?”, well, there are a lot of different answers to that.

There are an extensive number of models used to depict individual personalities. A standout amongst the most prevalent models is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. One of its components talks about a range between introversion and extroversion. Projects and project management at it’s core are about people and teams, so good project leaders have a tendency to be at least somewhat extroverted. Introverted project managers may discover their projects moving out of control because they are inadequately engaged with the people ultimately responsible for the tasks.

A second variable for PMs is the difference between a preference for observable data and a preference for instinctive data. Projects are usually “best” managed using measurable facts that can be verified and tested. The actualities are what you can count on; a fake sense of “achievement” doesn’t help anyone.  A third element relates to whether choices within a project are based on coherent objective analysis or on feelings and values (emotions). Projects, especially technical projects (like what eCommerce or web projects are), move ahead most easily when decisions are based on predictable, analytical criteria.

The last, and probably the most important personality trait is your ability to focus on operations.  The trait describes how individuals manager their projects. On one extreme is the project manager who plans and organizes what must be done in a clear communicable manner, which is what project management is mostly about. On the other extreme is the individual who prefers to be spontaneous and flexible.  Now let’s stop here for a second and mention that “agile”, which is a buzzword for most, does not mean flexible or spontaneous but rather “iterative” in progress and tracking.  Just wanted to set that out there for some Twitter followers.  As a baseline, projects that are a “free spirit” tend to be chaotic nightmares, stress out your team and may never complete.

Lastly, if you are running a technical project (like ecommerce websites) you need to at minimum have the ability to learn the 10,000ft view of coding practices, administrative work, etc.  It sounds dumb saying it, and probably a “duhr” statement, but you need to have a minimal understanding of the technology you are working on to be successful.

If you match up with the ideals then you are probably suited for a profession in project management.

Do you have a question you want answered?  Comment below and I will try and help!