10 Essential Project Management Competencies

This article:
These are the Core Competencies Project Managers Need Today
1. Communication
2. Leadership
3. Self-awareness
4. Confidence
5. Resilience
6. Teamwork
7. Business acumen
8. Influencing and Negotiating
9. Networking
10. Stakeholder engagement
Technical competencies
How to spot competency gapsWhat you should look for
The challenge of identifying gaps in project management competence

How to develop your skills (and those of your colleagues)
Next steps for developing competencies
Steps to take

You’re nearing the end of the quarter, and you think about what a great year at work. You start to think about what you should do for your professional growth in the months ahead. There are many options.
Although I don’t have time or the desire to take a certification course I am always ready to learn the project management skills I need to succeed. What should you be focusing your attention on if you feel the same?
This article will discuss the top competencies of project managers and how to improve your skills.
These are the Core Competencies Project Managers Need Today
You should focus on developing soft skills, or interpersonal skills, as a project manager. Soft skills include:
Communication
Leadership
Self-awareness
Confidence
Resilience
Teamwork
Business acumen
Influencing and Negotiating
Networking
Stakeholder engagement.
There are many core skills that can be found in the competency frameworks of the Association for Project Management (APM) and the guidance of the Project Management Institute(PMI). These are the core skills that I have found to be most effective in my career. That’s why we’re focusing on them in this article.
Let’s take a look at each one individually.
1. Communication
Because it is fundamental to our mission as project managers, effective communication is at the top of my list.
According to research done by PMI (The Essential Role of Communications 2013, 2013), one in five projects fails because of ineffective communication.
The primary responsibility of a project manager is to achieve the project’s goals with the resources available within the budget and timeframe agreed upon.
To achieve this, a communication plan is usually developed. This plan will outline the frequency and type of communication required for project communication and any actions that are expected from stakeholders and team members as information is distributed.
Sahil Sandhu’s research from Harrisburg University concluded the same: effective communication topped the empirical research into the order in which project managers assign various competencies to it.
A project manager who is effective communicates in many ways, including:
Written e.g. Newsletters, reports
Verbal e.g. Verbal e.g.
Nonverbal (although it is not necessary to be conscious of it all the time!)
Video (recorded, or live)

You can do more. Communication will likely consume 60% of your time or more. Communication can make the difference between a project succeeding or failing in the eyes and the stakeholder.
2. Leadership
A project manager usually has no formal authority over the project’s resources. The project team does not report directly to you. All of them have their own line managers, which can cause tension between their ‘home team’ and the project team in terms responsibility and where they focus.
A great project manager is able to inspire others to take action. They can bring together a diverse group of people and make them work together to achieve a common goal.
Even though you don’t have any authority over the team, it is important to develop leadership skills. To be a great leader, you don’t necessarily need to be at the top of the tree.
3. Self-awareness
We all