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11 communication skills of effective project leaders

Moira Alexander | Feb. 12, 2015
There are project managers and then there are highly effective project leaders. Here are 11 traits that the great ones share.

Energy and motivation: Let's face it: No one wants a leader that is pessimistic, negative or disengaged. With hectic schedules and projects that don't always going as planned, a project leader's disposition and motivational abilities can mean the difference between teams that work cohesively or in complete dysfunction. Highly effective project leaders boost team morale and motivate. This can influence buy-in at all levels and keep support throughout the project.

According to Matt Barney, founder and CEO of LeaderAmp, persuasion is an important quality:"Leaders must systematically influence others to execute the project to achieve shared goals," he says.

Consistency and flexibility: Flip-flopping is not a good strategy when it comes to leadership. Great project leaders are reliable and consistent with their communication quality, style, and frequency -- yet still adapt based on audience needs. Great project leaders establish themselves as reliable communicators to develop credibility with project sponsors and flex and adapt during change.

Accessibility: It is impossible for a project leader to be effective if he or she is inaccessible. Team members and stakeholders need to know they can easily access their project leader and communicate freely and without barriers. Highly effective project leaders are never closed-off.

Clarity: Great project leaders gear their communication methods, mediums and styles toward their audience. They also have the ability to take something complex and make it simple in order to reach audiences at different levels.

Mark Grimm of Mark Grimm Communications and former TV News Anchor who has interviewed Presidents Bush and Clinton understands the importance of leadership and simplicity and says, "Simplicity is not simple. A leader's top communication quality is the ability to paint a clear and vibrant picture of the company or group's true purpose."

Respect: Culture, age, gender, experience, education and communication preferences can all impact communication methods. Highly effective project leaders communicate in a clear and concise manner while still demonstrating respect and value for the contributions and opinions of others. They understand this is key in maintaining positive working relationships.

This may seem like a lofty list, but these qualities make the difference between simply managing projects and leading successful ones.


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