12 Leadership Skills In Project Management

12 Leadership Skills In Project Management

What is one leadership skill you need for project management? Why?

To help leaders improve their project management leadership skills, we asked business professionals and executives for their best answers to the question above. 

Here are twelve leadership skills for project management. 

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Detail-Oriented
  • Enthusiasm
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Provides Clear and Direct Communication
  • Knowing When and How To Pivot
  • Identifying The Root Causes of Problems
  • Inspiring People
  • Balanced
  • Accountability 
  • Approachability
  • Ability to Delegate

Emotional Intelligence

In order to be an effective leader and project manager, you must have emotional intelligence. Without a deep understanding of the personalities of your teammates and an understanding of what motivates them, you won’t be able to encourage everyone to work together and accomplish your goal. Moreover, when problems arise, the stronger your emotional intelligence, the easier it will be to navigate your team’s challenges and how to overcome them!

Nikitha Lokareddy, Markitors


To be a good project manager, you must be very detail-oriented. With so many moving parts and various points of communication, it is important that you stay on top of things and ensure everything is going according to schedule. Even the smallest delay can cause a domino effect that can derail your project!

Blake Murphey, American Pipeline Solutions


The one skill I look for in project management is enthusiasm. When managing a large project with multiple team members and lots of moving parts, a positive attitude from management is the key to success. When faced with challenges, it is vital for the ship to be steered by a manager that not only knows how to communicate the importance of the work but is excited to accomplish the goals and objectives of the assigned project, despite the obstacles. This enthusiasm should be genuine and come from a real place of concern for the project’s well being. 

Henry Babichenko, DD, Eurodenture

Conflict Resolution

A necessity for project managers is conflict resolution. When working in a project management workplace there is going to be a big push on meeting deadlines. When you have a team of people working under a strict schedule for long periods of time, conflict is inevitable. Being proactively ready to deal with this will allow you to remedy conflict quickly when it arises. Make sure you have a plan in place and all the team members know what is expected when a conflict comes up. This will save you time, energy and stop emotions from getting out of control.

Mark Smith, UAT

Provides Clear and Direct Communication 

Being a successful project management leader requires an individual who practices a style that will encourage two-way communication with staff. A successful leader will have the ability to provide and communicate goals but also show a willingness to consider other opinions as their team moves forward toward action.

Linda Scorzo, Hiring Indicators

Knowing When and How to Pivot

The skills required to execute the successful management of any project are many. According to Upwork, with almost 42% of the United States’ workforce still working remotely, even additional skills must be considered. However, when it comes to project management, the ability to know when and how to pivot will always be imperative. We all know that all projects don’t always go according to plan. However, a strong leader will know when it’s time to go back to the drawing board and get a little innovative, versus spending precious time on a process that is no longer viable.

Greg Gillman, MuteSix

Identifying the Root Causes of Problems

One of the most important project management skills is identifying the root causes of the problems. The project manager usually coordinates the activities of people with different working and communication styles. That amplifies the need for uncovering the real reasons why certain project tasks are not completed up to the standards. Cutting through the noise and personal bias enables achieving an objective and realistic perspective on the projects.

Michael Sena, Senacea

Inspiring People

Inspiring people is a key leadership skill for project management. In many cases, you are competing for time and attention against other priorities. Therefore, you have to find ways to inspire people to work on your project. For example, you might appeal to an ambitious person’s desire to present and look good in front of executives. Another person might have a different motivation. Taking the time to understand people individually helps you to inspire effectively.

Bruce Harpham, Technology Marketing Consultant


A successful project manager understands the importance of balance as they lead a team through a project. Project managers are responsible for sticking closely to a schedule and required tasks while balancing that need with flexibility and openness to new ideas. They have to balance budget limits with resources that their project team truly needs. Perhaps most challenging, project managers must balance the big picture with the small details: recognizing and explaining the overall vision for the project and also paying attention to how each task and process fits into the project.

Jenna Phipps, TechnologyAdvice


The best leadership skill you need for project management is being able to motivate your team and hold them accountable. As the famous saying goes: “Inspect what you expect.” Don’t expect perfection with projects, especially with new projects or new hires! Check-in weekly on projects to keep the momentum going. As a leader, you have to keep the excitement there. Hold your team accountable and ask “What would you do differently next time?”

Trevor Rappleye, CorporateFilming.com


The best leadership skill that a project manager can have is approachability. If you want to get things done as quickly and effectively as possible then your team needs to trust you and feel comfortable approaching you with questions. Having a great relationship with your team can also help when you are approaching deadlines and need a push to get over the finish line. Therefore, take some time to get to know all of your team and find out what you need to do to keep them happy and engaged.

Liam Quinn, Reach interactive

Ability to Delegate

A leadership skill for project management is learning to delegate. Lots of managers make the mistake of not knowing how to properly delegate tasks for the best employees and mistake checking in for micromanagement. This can lead to a lot of frustration if not handled properly.

Loren Howard, Prime Plus Mortgages

We also sought out advice from  Jeninder Kaur, a School Teacher and Former Head accountant at a local hotel chain in Sydney,  who teaches kids about leadership and career pathways. She suggests that skills like Communication, Self-Awareness, Gratitude, and Learning Agility are essential for leadership roles and can be acquired through rigorous practice, self-education, continuous personal development, and reading leadership books to gain important anecdotes from experienced professionals. 

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