5 Critical Skills Every Project Manager Should Have

Project managers are juggling a huge number of moving parts when working on a construction project. Managing change orders, communicating across large teams, ensuring a high quality of work, and coordinating schedules are just some of the responsibilities of a construction project manager.

A good project manager sets themselves apart from their peers by their attention to detail and adherence to deadlines.

But there are other critical skills that construction project managers should place high on their priority list.

Able to Plan Projects and Anticipate Risks

Project managers are often managing massive construction projects, especially in commercial construction. The ability to thoroughly plan every aspect of a project is essential, and the best project managers hone this skill.

Of course much of that comes with industry experience.

The longer a person is in the industry, the more expansive their knowledge becomes.

However, this skill is also developed by actively engaging in every part of the planning process and taking ownership of it. Project managers must plan for changes, anticipate risks, keep an eye on the scope of the project, and update their respective teams.

Clear Communication

Highly level project managers must absolutely develop effective communication skills. No project manager works inside a bubble.

During the initial planning stages, a project manager may be communicating with vendors, cost estimators like Juncture Estimating, subcontractors, and the owner.

Clear communication helps everyone across a worksite understand the scope of work and manage expectations appropriately.

When things go wrong, a project manager who has invested time into this skill can better communicate the issue and the solution, avoiding any time or materials that would be wasted otherwise.


Leaders build up teams, period.

A good project manager understands the value in inspiring and motivating their teams. It is through leadership that people are encouraged to share in your vision and develop a strong sense of perseverance.

While managing a team will always be necessary, leadership skills are important to continually refine.

In addition to inspiring and motivating a team, a project manager who leads also inspires their team to brainstorm creative solutions—essential on large-scale construction projects where a clean and simple solution may not always be possible.

Further, a construction project manager with strong leadership skills welcomes feedback and actively engages with it to promote positive change either inwardly or with their team.

Strategic Perpetual Learning

The construction industry, like most industries, is in a constant state of flux. Highly effective project managers possess the mental agility needed to perpetually seek out knowledge.

They spend time honing their own skills, perfecting their craft, and staying up to date on industry news and trends.

Project managers who put a high priority on their continuing education stay more abreast of new technologies than their static counterparts.

For example, in a recent newsletter, we talked about the growing popularity of lean construction, a method where project managers place a strong focus on streamlining construction projects and working as efficiently as possible in both material and manpower.

By continually seeking out information on trends like these, project managers improve their project outcomes, test out new technologies and softwares as they come available, and make themselves more valuable.

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Innovative Forward Thinking

The ability to think ahead is key to being a successful project manager. While planning in general is important, here we're thinking farther into the future.

Innovate forward thinkers can look at new software and tools coming to the construction industry and see how they can benefit their teams.

New estimating software makes cost estimating more comprehensive and accurate than ever—we use it to provide our clients with the best job cost estimates possible.

Other technology may solve a specific pain point for your team or become the solution that perfectly addresses a major concern.

Expanding Your Skillset

It's never too late to expand your skillset and grow in your career as a project manager. Devote intentional time to honing your skills, and you and your clients will see the positive results.


© Juncture Estimating and Consulting, 2019