Every project will require the leadership of a project manager. In larger organizations, there might be multiple project managers. Each of these individuals reports directly to a project management office for proper mentorship and coaching. As with any industry, there is such a thing as a good project manager and a bad project manager. Project management officers are responsible for ensuring the success of PMs on the team while offering constructive feedback to those who are falling behind. In this article, we will explore how to tell the difference between a good project manager and a bad one.
The Good vs The Bad Project Managers
- Bad project managers will try to micromanage teams; good project managers will rely on their excellent leadership skills.
- Bad project managers are typically reactive, while good project managers are proactive when it comes to solving problems.
- Good project manager‘s consult data before making decisions, and bad project managers rely on rumors.
- Bad project managers blame complications on their team members, while good project managers take responsibility for their leadership.
Next, let’s take a deeper dive into understanding the difference between good project managers and bad ones.
What Makes a Good Project Manager?
If you have been in the workforce for a while, it is likely you have experience working with multiple project managers. Each of these individuals likely had different management styles! Some project managers offer great pieces of advice and mentorship. Others do not provide their team with the skills needed for success.
Good Project Managers are Leaders
Good project managers rely on their impeccable leadership skills to empower their teams to get the job done. They act as mentors and focus on highlighting people’s strengths over their weaknesses. Bad project managers will simply tell their teams what to do without taking into consideration what these individuals are best at. While this methodology may seem minuscule, it can make a big difference in the overall success and happiness of the project team.
Bad Project Managers
When bad project managers are leading a team and give less trust to their team members. Instead of championing creativity, they encourage their team to play by the rules. As a result, teams are unable to grow and evolve. Also, fatigue and lack of motivation can wash over the team. Bad project managers are more likely to micromanage their teams and do not ask for feedback.
Good Project Managers
If you are lucky enough to be on a team with a good project manager, they will use their leadership skills to create a safe and comfortable workspace. You will be able to use your creativity to the project’s advantage, make decisions on your own, and give feedback when needed. You will feel led rather than managed. You also feel as though treatment of each individual on the team is equal and all thoughts are given the same amount of consideration. Good project managers will lead by example, even when the going gets tough. They will praise you for your successes and never take credit for work that isn’t theirs.
You will notice that good project managers are more successful and respected in their careers. Bad project managers are not typically as expected, especially in today’s diverse workforce. Bad project managers typically exude an energy that is negative and causes problems for their own teams.
Good Project Managers are Proactive
Good project managers take advantage of a proactive approach when it comes to solving problems. They believe that it is important to plan thoroughly in order to solve problems before they start. Bad PMs do not take possible challenges into account, leaving their teams unprepared in times of trouble.
The Qualities of a Good Project Manager
Good project managers are extremely analytical, considering every possible outcome. It is extremely important to be data-driven and use a proactive mindset when working in a fast-paced, complex environment. But without these skills, it will be extremely difficult for project managers to use proper change management techniques. No project ever goes exactly to plan, which is why it is so important to be flexible and adaptable in times of possible crisis.
Bad Project Managers
Bad project managers are not typically open to change, as they do not think ahead of time and typically make a decision spur of the moment. As a result, they do not try to prevent failures ahead of time and are more likely to repair broken promises rather than prevent these issues in the first place. Failure to look ahead can be extremely costly for the project overall.
No one can predict the future; however, with the correct data, it is possible to make accurate foresight about what might be in store. This is why it is so important to make sure that problems are accounted for before they happen. Otherwise, this can cost the organization a lot of extra time, money, and other resources they do not have.
Good Project Managers Use Data to Their Advantage
Analytical project managers work to identify struggles and find the best possible solutions to problems. These skills are crucial in any field, but especially in those that require a great deal of leadership. Project managers must lead by example and make data-driven choices to launch their work.
Project managers must be extremely analytical, as well as creative. Creativity and innovation help PMs come up with out-of-the-box solutions. Better analytical skills also enhance knowledge about certain areas of work and allow PMs to gain trust from their teams.
Bad project managers do not follow data and instead listen to rumors of what is not going well on their teams. They do not seek in-depth information and base their decisions on feelings and small talk. Therefore, predictions are often not accurate as they are not backed by data.
Good PMs Look at Management as an Opportunity to Serve
Project managers who look at work as an opportunity to serve are crucial, as this allows their teams to thrive from mentorship and coaching. This way, team members are able to focus on development as they see their leaders striving for excellence rather than simply barking directions.
Good vs. Bad PMs
Good project managers work to help their team grow as individuals while also delivering the desired outcomes of a project. Authoritative project managers only show steps, policies, and methods that make work dull and mundane. Employees thrive when they are able to freely make decisions to benefit the project and business overall.
Being authoritative is not always a bad thing, especially if your team needs strong instruction. However, your team will be more motivated to do their best work if you take a service-leadership mindset. PMs possess a lot of knowledge and leadership; when they share tricks of the trade, the effectiveness of their teams improves.
Good PMs will always be chosen over bad ones, which is why it is so important to only attract good managers to your organization. Bad PMs will drive team members away from your company, as they likely won’t feel comfortable collaborating under this individual. Good project managers should work to create an open and free workplace environment.
Good Project Managers Own Up to Mistakes
Good project managers will never let their team be at fault for the failure of a project. Project managers should always know that their planning results in the overall outcome of the project. If a challenge arises, putting the blame on a team member is unfair to do as a leader. Team members should be able to fully rely on their leaders to guide them in the right direction. If they feel as though they are unable to do so, they will be stressed out, less focused, and less effective.
It is human nature to feel embarrassed when situations go wrong. However, if an employee is blamed for a project challenge that could have been prevented by their manager, this is considered unfair treatment. As a result, employees may lose morale and consider finding other work opportunities.
However, a good project manager will always take the blame for anything that happens, whether it be good or bad! They know that all outcomes are a result of their leadership. So, they use their skills to build an environment of accountability, motivation, and success. They work on providing clear Direction while championing creativity. They also are respectful of employees’ time, emotions, and concerns.
When a leader takes accountability for decisions, actions, and results, they become a trusted Mentor. As a result, their team will begin to follow with trust.
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Summary: Good vs. Bad Project Managers
As you strive to understand the difference between good and bad project managers, it is important to look at a few different factors. Look to see if the project manager uses pure management skills or leadership skills in order to direct their teams. Also, take a look at whether they take accountability for the successes and failures of their team.
You should also take into account how analytical this individual is. If they are analytical, they will make data-driven decisions to benefit the project team and the project as a whole. They do not rely on rumors and make decisions based on research.
When it comes to hiring a good project manager, you should consider all of the factors discussed in this blog. With these tools, you will have a better understanding of what to look out for in a successful project manager. If you hire a quality project manager, you can ensure that your employees will be happy and that your clients will get the outcomes they desire.