You’ve finally landed the role. You’re about to run your first project from start to finish. Maybe you’re totally new to the company, or perhaps you’ve worked your way up through the ranks. It’s time to celebrate — you’ve finally earned your spot on the management team!
Regardless of how you got to this point, if you’re about to become a creative project manager, this guide can help you make an impression. Here are eight creative project manager skills needed for success.
1. Communication Skills
You wouldn’t be where you are without decent communication skills. They’ve helped you show the right people that you’re ready. Now that you’re in management, it’s time to take them to the next level.
To enhance your communication skills, you should focus on your team members. Figure out what you need to do to help them succeed. A good communicator will always be a good listener. They will ask questions, seek out others’ opinions, and seek to integrate various points of view into the team plan.
Good communicators pay special attention to the “quiet” team members. When necessary, they will draw them out.
Once they have a good grasp of their teammates’ learning styles, they adapt what they say so their message is easy to grasp.
Good communicators are also typically good at speaking in groups. If you are leading a department or small team meetings, there will be times when you need to address everyone at once.
Developing your public speaking ability would be beneficial if you haven’t already done so.
Good leaders possess self-confidence. They believe they can accomplish what they set out to do.
As a good creative project manager, you will need to be able to take criticism. Your team should know that they can raise concerns without you taking it personally.
By now you should also have developed the ability to trust your instincts. You make decisions based on your experience in similar or parallel roles.
If you are a newbie manager and feel a little twinge of self-doubt now and then, don’t be discouraged. Your self-confidence will develop with time as your project management experience increases.
Just keep moving in the direction you know you should go.
3. People Skills
Good managers know how to work with people. They utilize diplomacy, patience, empathy, and flexibility to build their teams and accomplish goals together.
Like self-confidence, people skills don’t develop overnight. So if you feel that you’re a little bit green in this area, keep working at it. Use common sense and treat your teammates like you would want to be treated.
4. Planning Know-How
Planning skills come naturally if you’re a visionary. You just have to think of where you want the project to be. Then, use your research skills to figure out how to get there.
Often one of the best ways to plan a project is to create an outline or steps required from start to finish.
Poorly planned projects lead to wasted time and frustration. If you don’t plan, you’ll have to make things up as you go, which is risky.
You should be able to expect obstacles that may get in the way, such as issues with funding, equipment, clients, or even team productivity. The more prepared you are, the more on-track the project will be.
5. Technical Skills
Your technical skills will make or break your ability to be effective. At a minimum, you should be familiar with task management software like Salesforce or Slack.
You’ll also need to know how to share materials and files with the group, so familiarity with G-docs and DropBox would be helpful.
Being able to use PowerPoint or the Adobe suite is always beneficial. This also applies to other software that’s specific to your particular industry.
If you’re expert enough with your team’s technology, you can troubleshoot. You’ll increase your credibility by being able to get things working again.
6. Organizing Skills
Organizing skills are so much more than just being able to classify things, although that is an excellent partial description.
One important subcategory is time management. It’s the ability to estimate how long it will take to work on something from start to finish, and meet deadlines.
When you need to track billing hours or determine the time required for your project, time tracking software can be a huge help. It will let you estimate the total cost for your project and keep you from overpromising on completion dates.
You’ll be able to identify any weaknesses, see if anyone is underperforming, and identify where and when you may need to add more manpower.
You should also be able to assign people to work together based on their talents and skills. This can be tricky, so get to know your team members and stay open to feedback.
Organizing skills go hand in hand with planning know-how, followed closely by people skills. To do a good job of organizing, it will help if you can take a step back and look at the big picture.
7. Creative Talent
Chances are, you already have creative talent — and lots of it. You got to this point as a creative project manager because of your portfolio, after all.
Now you can use your creativity in expanded ways to motivate your team and accomplish way more than you ever could on your own. You’ll tackle many new types of projects together.
This is your opportunity to take all the skills and talents of your team and orchestrate a true masterpiece.
8. Ability to Grow
The best strategy for effective leadership is to always be learning. Read trade journals and industry blogs, go to seminars, ask questions, and learn from your mistakes.
If you keep an open mind, you’ll always be able to adapt to changes. If you’re always learning, you’ll always be able to stay flexible.
Project management skills take time to develop. If you stick with it and keep deepening your knowledge through hands-on experience and active learning, you’ll eventually become a master.
Succeeding as a Creative Project Manager
You’ll be a great creative project manager if you use the skills in this list in your new role. Invest in yourself by growing in these areas, and you’ll go further in your career than you ever thought possible.
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