When it comes to finding the right Project Manager for your design and construction project, tracking scope, cost, and schedule is itself not enough. Especially on complex projects where multiple stakeholders may have unresolved or even conflicting goals for their investments, if your team lacks essential soft skills, you may be missing out on valuable savings or worse, your project may be exposed to financial risks that your team could not be equipped to address on its own.
Based on lessons learned in the field, our Project Managers have developed a checklist of 10 must-have soft skills to look for in hiring the right project team to successfully deliver your design and construction projects.
1. Empathy and enthusiasm
Your Project Manager should have a deep understanding of client and stakeholder project needs, as well as the ability to tap design team and specialty vendor resources that are needed to address them. At the same time, it’s important to have a PM that connects with the project team so the PM can motivate and bring the best out in every team member.
2. Experience to stay ahead of potential pitfalls
Your Project Manager should come equipped with knowledge across a wide range of sectors to identify risks before construction starts and efficiently navigate and guide the team toward smart solutions. This entails establishing the Owner’s budget and goals at the project outset with the know-how to identify scope gaps and critical program requirements that may be overlooked by the design and construction teams.
3. Proactive leadership
To be an effective leader, your Project Manager needs to be proactive rather than reactive. Achieving the optimal balance of cost, schedule, and design means maintaining a regular dialogue with the client and project team to make sure coordination activities are consistently aligned with client project goals and priorities.
4. Clear and critical communication
Your Project Manager needs to be a strong, consistent communicator. Well-rounded PMs have learned how to work effectively with many personality types, cultures, professions, trades, and clients, exercising patience while prioritizing essential ideas. Your PM ensures everyone on the team knows their role in achieving key deliverables and when changes happen, their calm and effective guidance keeps everyone on track.
5. Neutral and holistic perspective
Your Project Manager always needs to work in the interest of the project and the project Owner. Any bias that may cloud the ability to see big picture possibilities will make it difficult to come to clear decisions or to know when to compromise when the stakes are high.
6. Data-driven decision-making
Informed decisions are key! Your Project Manager should lead the organization of contracts, assist with drawing control, and track payments . Looking beyond internal project information, PMs should also utilize market data to help guide critical decisions.
7. Tenacious problem-solving
An enthusiasm for facing challenges head on is crucial. Whether in contract negotiations, implementing project-specific value engineering priorities, or managing the construction process, PMs need to eagerly assist their team in troubleshooting issues no matter where they stem from.
8. Foster collaborative teamwork
On a project team, it’s important to bridge gaps rather than create adversaries. Project Managers can foster this collaboration by catering to team member needs to help reach project goals efficiently as a team. Ensuring time spent together is always valuable and intentional—meaning, never holding meetings just to meet—also helps keep the whole team engaged and collaborative when everyone’s together.
9. Encourage transparency
PMs should manage and drive projects built on a foundation of integrity, honesty, and transparency. This open dialogue and trust will allow for a clearer decision-making process and stronger communication between project team members.
10. Personal drive for Owner success
At the end of the day, your Project Manager should be excited to help achieve your project goals. They should take pride in providing exceptional client service, demonstrating a personal dedication to project success on behalf of the client and stakeholders. When a PM values long-term client relationships, they put the success of the project above their own profitability to ensure your vision becomes reality.
Whether you are renovating an office, retrofitting a warehouse, or constructing a new building, these soft skills are necessary to guide your project to a successful completion. If you want to discuss essential project delivery team soft skills further, get in touch with stok’s Project Managers.