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5 Positive Attributes Every Project Manager Needs

Project Manager Presenting

I have had the pleasure of collaborating with great Project Managers (PMs) around the globe in corporate, start up, and small business environments. When recently asked, “What makes a great Project Manager?”, I thought about the Project Manager and their attributes I admired to come up with this list.

Flexible like Gumby, Cool like a Cucumber

Being able to roll with the punches and keep cool is a skill I, and other project managers, work on constantly.

We’ve all been there – leadership and funding changes, people resource cuts, and other surprises.

However, how we react to the copious amounts of change a project goes through is crucial to the project’s overall success. Embodying flexibility supported by optimism will set the tone of the team to overcome adversity and stay on track.

The Guide Vs. The Hammer

As a Project Manager, you sometimes feel like a lesser in-shape Thor, pounding process and timelines into the heads of your team with a large hammer. This is a great way to operate as a Project Manager if your goal is to discourage team members and succeed in creating a fear-based team culture.

Great PMs have a gift of being a guide through process,

procedure, and timeline to encourage productivity. They work through issues one by one with members of the team, always seeking to understand.

Motivation & Recognition

On top of ensuring work is accomplished to complete projects #ontimeandunderbudget, influencing team members is an important job of the Project Manager. Creating and cultivating open, meaningful relationships through motivation is a great way to create positive teams. Add recognition to the mix, and you’ve got a team that’s prideful of the work being done. Motivation and recognition of members (and the team overall) goes a long way in productivity encouragement.

Humility, Even When It’s Tough

Let’s be honest – this is a requirement of any great leader. The ability to be humble when giving / receiving feedback, while managing conflict, etc. is huge. Humility is the welcome mat to the respect that leaders yearn for, but is casually practiced. When humility is embraced at the core of the team, they can better grasp vulnerability; this comes in handy when doing brave things like mustering up the courage to share an idea with the team, or think outside the box on an issue. With humility present, the team can recognize the basic commonality of being human, between the differing disciplines. As flawed beings, we make mistakes which should be as much embraced as they are made examples of. Ultimately, humility enhances the oneness of the team.  

There are many more great attributes that we could spend days listing, however these sprung to mind as the most influential.

What do you think makes a great Project Manager?

Until next time,


Kirsten Ebey, MSA PMP

Kirsten is the founder of Path to Summit LLC, a small business coaching firm in the Greater Denver Area. She works with small businesses to realize idea potential, create consistent & forward momentum, and plan for short & long term success.

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