Understand and incorporate these qualities / skillsets into your work everyday!

Note: They have evolved over the past decade.  Long ago, top qualities were all technical, then the focus became systems and communications. More recently, see below a list of the top 6 traits for today's successful business and project manager:

1)  Empathy
Tricky word to understand, becoming integral in the work place, especially with new generations, every single one of us wants it but the work place seems slow to adopt it (until now), merriam-webster defines it as:
  • the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also: the capacity for this

In a world where we tend to think of business in terms of the bottom line and financial metrics, a discussion of the role of empathy in business seems like an indulgence. But is it really an indulgence, or is it a marketplace imperative instead?  We now have studies that show how organizations with happy employees, strong organizational health, empathetic leaders, and maybe even a social mission, outperform their peers.  See a good link from Forbes on this:  

2)  Trust
A word we often over-look and take for granted, hard to earn and easy to lose, merriam-webster defines it as:
  • assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something, one in which confidence is placed

Success in projects and business unquestionably requires some willingness to cooperate with and have faith in others. The question is, how much faith and in whom? When your project budgets, finances and resources are on the line, how can you do a better job of gauging trustworthiness and thereby improve your likelihood of success?  See a good article from Harvard Business School below:


3)  Communication
A word we humans have a tremendous level of variance in terms of how we understand what this is and how it should be provided or received (huge risk around successful delivery), merriam-webster defines it as:
  • an act or instance of transmitting, information transmitted or conveyed, a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior; also :  exchange of information

The ability to communicate with people at all levels is almost always named as the most important skill by project managers and team members. Project leadership calls for clear communication about goals, responsibility, performance, expectations and feedback. There is a great deal of value placed on openness and directness. The project leader is also the team's link to the larger organisation. 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 and for the career advancement of team members.

4)  Cool Under Pressure
In a perfect world, projects would be delivered on time, under budget and with no major problems or obstacles to overcome. But we don't live in a perfect world 

This type of skill must be practiced – and that environment is not fun. But you need to create an approach so when it occurs, you become systematic and grow and improve each time.  Some good tips include:
  • Do a dress rehearsal before the event (if you can predict it, go through it in your mind, prepare and visualize)
  • Address most urgent need first (prioritize and attack in sequence)
  • Listen (adrenaline will be flowing, people will want to run and shout, slow the pace, get multiple perspectives)
  • Know when to take a breather (respect the stress you and others are under)
  • Block out the white noise (anything unnecessary must be put to the back burner)

5)  Collaboration
A word that we need to see the value that it brings, it is the true skill that makes our earth move to the next level, merriam-webster defines it as:
  • to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor, to cooperate with or willingly assist an enemy of one's country and especially an occupying force, to cooperate with an agency or instrumentality with which one is not immediately connected

The most successful initiatives are driven by internal collaboration across organizational divisions as well as partnerships with external stakeholders to share mutual goals. "The more allies you have, the better," said David London, senior director for US government relations at eBay, which is the group responsible for the company's energy policy.  For more tips, see link below:

6)  Problem Solver
One of the more traditional traits, still required in the PM field, can have multiple definitions, Wikipedia defines it as:
  • consists of using generic or ad hoc methods, in an orderly manner, for finding solutions to problems. Some of the problem-solving techniques developed and used in artificial intelligence, computer science, engineering, mathematics, medicine, etc. are related to mental problem-solving techniques studied in psychology.

Problem solving and decision-making are important skills for projects, business and life. Problem-solving often involves decision-making, and decision-making and there are processes and techniques to improve decision-making and the quality of decisions.  See link below to learn several techniques that are always helpful:

Challenge yourself to practice these traits every single day?