What is the One Greatest Skill a Project Manager Can Possess?

What is the one greatest skill a project manager can possess? Is it being able to put a project plan together? Or, being a great communicator? How about having fantastic leadership skills? What about the ability to stay on top of and mitigate risks to a project?

All of these are important skills when it comes to doing your job as a project manager, but in my opinion, the biggest skill, the biggest factor to being a successful manager is to have FOCUS!

It requires FOCUS to bring any activity to CLOSURE.

Single-minded focus may seem to go against the grain of many Project Managers. We take great pride in multi-tasking. It’s part of our DNA to have a lot of things going on at the same time. The Phone(s) are ringing, our Instant Messenger is blinking, E-mails are flooding in, and spreadsheets are open. We’ll have two Power Points and a couple of Word documents going all at the same time,

This all makes us feel as if we are very busy and getting a lot done. However, there is a downside to working this way Not only is it hard to complete one thing, but the task at hand may not be receiving your rapt attention.

What can you do if you have a problem focusing? There is a technique called Pomodoro (it’s Italian for ‘tomato’). Personally, I think it’s a bit too involved with the timers, worksheets, checklists, to-do lists, etc. but the spirit of the technique is just right. Focus on just ONE THING for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break and focus again on just ONE THING for the next 25 minutes and take another break. Shut down the email, hang up the phone, and turn off your Instant Messenger. Single-mindedly focus on getting one thing done and you’ll be pleased with the results.

I’d love to hear what your experience (good and bad) has been with multi-tasking and what are some of the things you do to help you maintain your FOCUS!


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