7 Key Project Management Skills of Relentless Leaders

Steve Jobs

When you are in charge of planning and coordinating small or large scale projects, you must exude the key characteristics of a great leader to ensure the success of your endeavors. To be an excellent leader, you must never say fail in the face of adversity and always dream up creative ways to work around tough problems. You must micromanage as needed, delegate equally often, and keep your eye on the prize for the duration of the job.

Channeling the many characteristics of the world’s most bullheaded, inspirational leaders will give you an edge as you approach your project management tasks. Read on to learn how the seven project management skills of relentless leaders are integral to your role as a project manager.

Project Management Skill #1 – Vision

Juliette Gordon LowA clear vision of the final result helps with the management of each stage of the project. When you can see the finished product, you can easily enact the steps that will help you accomplish that goal.

In an act of total dedication, Juliette Gordon Low made it her life’s work to empower young girls, starting with the creation of the Girl Scouts.

The skills taught in scouts gave girls the confidence and hope needed to cast off traditional roles and reach for the star in the art, science and business fields.

Her work toward female empowerment continued through her support of the women’s suffrage movement. As a result of her commitment to this vision, she saw women win the right to vote in 1919.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Project Management Skill #2 – Creativity

Elon MuskWhen approached with difficulties during your construction project, the worst thing you can do is continually bang your head against the wall trying the same ineffective solutions over and over again.

You will have much better luck using your creativity to dream up innovative solutions to age-old problems. If you can foresee approaching issues, and enact creative solutions, you will almost never fail to meet your project goals.

In the creation of Hyperloop, Zip2, Tesla Motors and SpaceX, visionary Elon Musk bucked the norm in pursuit of better solutions to a handful of societal problems. Although his methods went against the industry standards, he has never failed to push the envelope of innovation while enacting amazing solutions.

Image By Heisenberg Media via Wikimedia Commons

Project Management Skill #3 – Focus

Steve JobsThroughout the project management process, you might find yourself simultaneously overseeing dozens of workers and tasks to remain on schedule and hit your deadlines on time. While managing concurrent tasks, you must remain focused on hitting the metrics and reaching the overall goals for the project.

Steve Jobs is an excellent example of a relentless leader with total focus on a particular target, despite distractions vying for his attention at every turn.

To ensure the success of Apple, for example, Jobs cut 70% of the product line to focus on the profitable sectors of the company.

His focus on perfecting profitable products and technology ensured Apple could recover from the losses and eventually come to turn a significant profit, year after year.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done.

Image by Anas Salloum Via Wikimedia Commons

Project Management Skill #4 – Courage

Rosa ParksThe ability to make smart business moves, take calculated risks and approach difficult decisions with confidence are all signs of courage in the project management realm. When you can display courage as a leader, you will inspire your employees to take on challenges with determination and poise.

The tenacious Rosa Parks led the movement toward equality by courageously fighting the establishment with her bold bus move.

Despite having the cards stacked against her, Parks’ daring act of defiance set the ball rolling toward racial equality for all.

Her actions inspired others to work against injustice and fight for human rights, despite the obstacles in the way.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Project Management Skill #5 – Awareness

Mahatma GandhiAn awareness about the finer nuances of the project at hand can help you identify and solve problems before they escalate and cause additional issues.

To ensure you remain aware of all facets of the project, you must be willing to listen to your employees and consider suggested solutions provided by the individuals on the ground floor.

In order to lead the Indian independent movement using nonviolent civil disobedience, Mahatma Gandhi had to listen to the people and remain open to ongoing discourse to solve these incredibly difficult problems.

His willingness to listen and remain highly aware enabled him to lead India to independence and encourage civil rights movements across the entire world.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Project Management Skill #6 – Patience

Nelson MandelaPatience can help you remain calm and sensible when faced with adverse situations on your jobsite. When you show patience during critical moments, you instantly gain, and retain, the respect of your team and continue to maintain control of the project and tasks at hand.

Nelson Mandela utilized his unending patience to realize his dream of establishing a free, democratic society.

Mandela spent 27 years in prison, all the while never doubting his eventual success and crafting a plan to liberate his people.

He embraced the power of patience due to the belief that it eliminated the risk of making hasty decisions and errors.Without letting impatience win out, he bravely and faithfully worked toward the end of repression and racism in South Africa.

It always seems impossible until it’s done. –Nelson Mandela

Image by South Africa The Good News via Wikimedia Commons

Project Management Skill #7 – Integrity

Abraham LincolnWhile managing a large group of workers, you must remain honest and fair to maintain the morale of your team.

When your employees can trust your integrity, your leadership will inspire them to unite together to accomplish the task at hand by the deadline and without complaint.

Your commitment to displaying consistent actions and values will have a lasting impression on the work ethic of your employees.

Abraham Lincoln earned the nickname, “Honest Abe,” by showing an unprecedented amount of integrity during his presidency.

His commitment to truth and integrity gained him devoted followers and unending respect from the masses.

Although your adoption of all these project management skills might not come easy, the journey toward the total emulation of the most relentless, bullheaded leaders in history will surely be well worth the effort. With these seven skills on your side, you will be able to accomplish your career goals, overcome any obstacle along the way and inspire others with your mere presence.

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Michael is an avid project controls blogger and is the Chief Learning Officer here at Plan Academy. Michael has taught 1000s professionals how to use project controls software like Primavera P6 over the past 10 years through his online courses and tutorials. Michael is a member of AACE, the Guild of Project Controls and holds his PMP certification from PMI.