Top Traits to Have to Be an Effective Project Manager

Looking to level up your project management skills? Discover the key traits & tips for mastering them in our comprehensive guide

May 9, 2023
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Project management is a dynamic and demanding field that requires professionals to have a wide variety of abilities and qualities to succeed. Effective project managers must display extraordinary organizational, communication, and leadership abilities to guarantee that projects are finished on time and under budget. This article delves into the top traits of successful project managers, the importance of these qualities, and how they can be developed and improved upon. 

We’ll start with the basics.

Who is a project manager?

A project manager is a professional responsible for organizing, carrying out, and finishing projects. They oversee every part of a project, from setting goals to handling resources and timelines.

A project manager is like the pilot of a plane, flying it from start to finish. They make sure everything runs smoothly, set the destination (goals), and make sure they get there on time. They're responsible for ensuring the project sails smoothly and successfully reaches its final destination.

Other duties of a project manager include:

  • Defining project goals and objectives
  • Creating a project plan with scope, budget, and timeline
  • Assembling and managing the project team
  • Assigning and monitoring tasks
  • Communicating with team members and stakeholders
  • Managing risks and resolving conflicts
  • Adapting to changes and unforeseen obstacles
  • Evaluating and reporting project outcomes

5 Essential Qualities of a Good  Project Manager

A good project manager is defined by key qualities that help them excel. In this section, we'll look at five essential qualities, discussing their significance and how you can improve them.

1. Effective time management

Recent studies show that 59% of project managers oversee between two and five projects. 

Project managers should know how to allocate resources, prioritize tasks, and meet project deadlines. The first step to time management is learning how to prioritize tasks, set realistic deadlines, and delegate responsibilities. Also, learn how to use project management tools and software to help track progress and stay organized.

Continually assess your time management skills, streamline processes, and seek feedback from team members on how to improve scheduling and task allocation.

2. Strong Communication Skills

Effective communication helps project managers efficiently convey project objectives, expectations, and status updates to team members and stakeholders. It helps them build trust, resolve conflicts, and ensure everyone is on the same page.

A good manager can enhance communication skills by actively listening, asking open-ended questions, taking feedback, and practicing empathy. You can also participate in public speaking workshops, test out new communication technologies, and seek input from colleagues on your communication style.

3. Adaptability

Projects frequently confront unforeseen obstacles and adjustments. Adaptability allows the project manager to adjust to these scenarios, ensuring that the project continues on schedule and that teammates remain engaged and motivated.

You can cultivate adaptability by embracing change, being open to new ideas, and learning from diverse experiences. Also, practice problem-solving and develop a flexible mindset by exposing yourself to new experiences and keeping up with industry trends.

4. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence lets project managers empathize with team members, manage their emotions, and foster a positive work environment. It also helps to build strong relationships and improve team morale and productivity.

Project managers can develop emotional intelligence by increasing their self-awareness through mindfulness, practicing empathy, and managing their emotions in stressful situations. Remember to seek feedback from colleagues on your emotional intelligence and invest in relevant training or coaching.

5. Teamwork and leadership

A project manager should also know how to inspire and guide their team to achieve project goals. Possessing strong leadership skills helps you identify each team member's strengths and weaknesses and assign them tasks accordingly. It also fosters collaboration within your team and with other departments.

You can improve your leadership abilities by observing good leaders, seeking mentorship, participating in leadership training programs, and incorporating feedback from team members and stakeholders.

You can even find valuable leadership tips from shows like Ted Lasso.

What are the 3 Greatest Strengths of a Project Manager?

Some core strengths of a successful project manager include the following:

1. Innovative thinking

Innovative thinking helps project managers develop creative solutions, adapt to challenges, and maximize available resources.

Ways to build innovative thinking include:

  • Participating in brainstorming sessions and learning activities.
  • Encouraging team members to share ideas.
  • Accepting failure as a chance for development and learning

2. Self-motivation and autonomy

A project manager should know how to take ownership of their work, maintain focus, and be self-sufficient, even during challenging situations.

Ways to build self-motivation and autonomy include:

  • Set personal goals and celebrate achievements
  • Develop strong time management and prioritization skills
  • Continuously learn and seek opportunities for growth

3. Time management and organization

Efficient time management and organizational skills help ensure the project stays on track, tasks are prioritized, and resources are utilized effectively.

Ways to build time management and organizational skills include:

  • Set reasonable timelines and prioritize projects
  • Continuously evaluate and improve procedures
  • Use project management tools and delegate duties

Try Assembly to see how easy it can be to organize projects and manage deadlines.

What are the Big Five Personality Traits of a Project Manager?

The Big Five personality traits proposed by Costa and McCrae, and Goldberg in 1992 are conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, and extraversion (CANOE). These traits are considered important indicators of an individual's behavior. In this section, we’ll look at how they affect the project manager’s work.

1. Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness measures an individual's level of organization. A conscientious project manager is accountable, dependable, and diligent. They pay close attention to detail, plan carefully, and consistently follow through on tasks. This trait contributes to their ability to manage their and their team's time and resources effectively.

2. Agreeableness

This personality trait measures how well we deal with people and their unique behaviors. Project managers with high levels of agreeableness are more likely to foster positive relationships with their team members and stakeholders. They are compassionate, cooperative, and prepared to compromise when necessary, contributing to a happy work atmosphere.

3. Extraversion

Extraversion, or extroversion, measures cheerfulness, outgoingness, and communicativeness. Extraverted project managers are outgoing, confident, and assertive. Their natural enthusiasm and energy can inspire and motivate their team, while their strong communication skills help to keep everyone informed and engaged.

4. Openness

This personality trait checks how a person handles novelty and how creative they are. Openness to experience is characterized by curiosity, creativity, and a willingness to embrace new ideas. Project managers who exhibit this trait are more likely to adapt to changing circumstances and find innovative solutions to challenges.

5. Neuroticism

This trait measures emotional stability. A project manager with high emotional stability can maintain composure under pressure, make rational decisions, and effectively manage stress. This trait is valuable in high-pressure situations and contributes to a project manager's ability to lead their team through difficult circumstances.

What is the Most Important Trait of a Project Manager?

The most important trait of a project manager is their ability to lead. Leadership encompasses good communication, empathy, problem-solving, and adaptability. A strong leader can inspire team members to do their best while building an environment where everyone feels respected and supported.


Emily is the project manager in charge of a software development project with looming deadlines and a limited budget. She noticed that her crew was worried and overburdened. (conscientiousness and empathy). Instead of merely pushing them to work more, Emily took the time to listen to their problems, empathize with their challenges, and develop ways to help lessen the stress. (agreeableness, innovation, organization, and effective communication). 

She kept her team motivated and committed to the project's success by exhibiting outstanding leadership.

What are the 3 Things a Project Manager Needs to Succeed?

We've talked about how project managers can make themselves better. However, this is not a solo mission. Organizations should give project managers all the help they can require. Some of these needs include:

1. A solid foundation of technical skills

While soft skills are crucial for effective project management, a successful project manager must also possess a strong foundation of technical skills. 

Organizations can help by:

  • Providing training and resources on project management methodologies, tools, and software
  • Offering opportunities to learn about the industry and its best practices
  • Encouraging collaboration with experienced colleagues to enhance technical knowledge
  • Providing industry-standard project management tools to help make their work easier

2. Supportive organizational culture

A supportive organizational culture promotes collaboration, communication, and continuous learning. This environment enables project managers to refine their skills, access resources, support, and effectively implement their projects. 

Organizations can foster a supportive culture by:

  • Promoting open communication and cooperation among team members
  • Encouraging continuous learning and skill development
  • Providing access to resources and support for project managers to implement their projects effectively

3. Continuous professional development

Project managers should keep abreast of the latest project management trends. This will involve attending conferences and workshops, pursuing certifications, or participating in mentorship programs. 

Organizations can facilitate continuous professional development by:

  • Sponsoring attendance at conferences, workshops, and other learning opportunities
  • Encouraging project managers to pursue relevant certifications
  • Establishing mentorship programs to help project managers learn from more experienced professionals

Enhancing Project Management Success with Assembly

Becoming a good project manager means self-learning specific skills like clear communication, innovative problem-solving, and motivational leadership. However, organizations should support their project managers through this process by providing a positive environment and integrating a comprehensive project management tool into their workflow.

Assembly is one such tool. Assembly helps business and project managers in refining their skills by providing a way to improve communication, encourage teamwork, and celebrate accomplishments, all in one place.

Ready to discover how Assembly can revolutionize your project management experience? Book a demo today and unlock your team's potential!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

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What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

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At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

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