June 17, 2022 –

10 Essential Skills Elite Project Managers Need

Table of Contents

What are the essential skills for an elite project manager?

Project managers are essential for any successful business. An elite project manager can deal with any problems that come up on the job, and they can lead their team through challenging times and talk to everyone involved in the project. 


What is the difference between a regular PM and an elite one? Their mindset. 


Project managers (PM) are the ones who can take a project from concept to completion, ensuring to view all aspects of the project that the delivery maintains on time and within budget. 


Being elite means having the skills and abilities to lead successful projects and meet the expectations of those involved. This takes preparation, adaptability, and the willingness to become better beyond the comfort zone. 

We will differentiate the ten necessary elements an elite project manager has to have to bear the title.

Assertive leadership and communication skills

Is your team being heard? And are you taking into account what they are saying? 


Servant leadership is a skill that is essential for any successful project manager, and they find ways to meet the objectives and deliverables best without compromising their teams. 


Employees in a servant leadership environment are more likely to feel their voices are heard, making them almost five times more likely to perform at their best.


Agility is a skill that helps project managers change and work against uncertainty. The most significant factor in determining the outcome of projects today is the preparation for the constant evolution of things, so having a skill that allows managing them is essential for any successful PM. 


Agility can make fast, flexible changes based on current or future internal and external situations. 


Project managers who can anticipate and adapt to changing circumstances are more likely to reduce uncertainty and risks and even seize opportunities for better outcomes.

Problem-solving skills

When things go wrong (and inevitably will), elite project managers need to identify the problem and quickly develop a solution.


Problem-solving is one of the essential skills for any PM. Elite project managers are especially good at rapid and effective problem-solving. When something goes wrong, they need to quickly identify the problem and develop a solution.


They also need to effectively communicate this solution to all stakeholders, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and that the project continues moving forward without any further delays.

It may not seem like an essential skill, but many have no formal background in the industry or technology for managing a project. On a complex task, this can quickly become a disadvantage.

Diligence to detail and Exceptional resource management

Everyone likes things done their way, but an elite project manager needs to be open to others’ ideas and make sure that everyone is on the same page with all details related to the project.


Exceptional resource management is the ability to identify and address potential resource shortages before they become a problem. It involves being proactive rather than reactive, and it requires a clear understanding of the company’s resources and the market conditions.

Resilience and the ability to take risks

Elite project managers are not afraid of taking risks if they feel that it will lead to better results; however, they are cautious of risks that could lead to more significant issues.


Resilience is one of the essential traits for a project manager, and it enables them to face setbacks and continue working toward the completion of the project. They need to know their strengths and weaknesses, and they need to be comfortable with change. They also need to be able to adapt to new situations quickly.



Elite project managers can often stay calm and focused in crisis and find solutions to problems quickly. Pushing through, coming into the light, and taking something of the process with them to improve the team.

Behavioral project management (BPM)

Project managers strike a good balance between being approachable and firm when necessary. They know how to be diplomatic and have no problem making tough decisions when situations arise.


Behavioral project management (BPM) is a relatively new field integrating behavioral science findings with traditional project management. 


BPM aims to enhance “existing technical-only project management methods by recognizing the inherently irrational behavior of human beings and mitigating those behaviors throughout all processes and phases of the project lifecycle.”

One of the main advantages of using BPM is that it can help reduce the stress associated with traditional project management. By understanding and taking into account the irrational behaviors of humans, BPM can help prevent many common problems from arising during a project.

Ability to prioritize tasks

One of the most critical skills for a project manager is prioritizing tasks. And it enables them to stay organized and focused and ensures doing the most vital tasks first.


The task’s priority varies, such as its impact on the overall project, deadline, and complexity.


It’s also essential for a project manager to delegate tasks appropriately because it helps ensure that everyone on the team is involved and that no one is overburdened.

Good timing

Good timing ties in with the ability to prioritize tasks, but elite project managers need to identify when to do specific tasks to schedule them accordingly without creating an overly-congested work schedule.


Timing is essential for a project manager. By prioritizing tasks and scheduling them accordingly, they can avoid overloading themselves and their team. Good timing is also critical to ensuring that a project is completed on time and within budget.

Inclusive mindset and Open-mindedness

It’s short and sweet. If you consider everything and use it to improve, innovation and success are inevitable. 


As stated above, everyone has their ideas, and as a leader shows that you are giving the team space to be heard. An open-minded, inclusive PM allows conversations and uses them to take different approaches and push the boundaries to reach different ways of success.

Common problems that elite project managers face

One of the most common problems that elite project managers face is dealing with stakeholders who disagree with the project’s objectives. In these cases, the project manager needs to effectively communicate the goals to all stakeholders and get them on the same page. There is where excellent communication and interpersonal skills come into effect.  


Another common problem is when team members do not adequately understand their role in the project or do not have the necessary skills to complete their tasks. The project manager needs to provide adequate training and support to ensure that the team effectively works together.

Projects can also go wrong due to unforeseen circumstances; for example, a vital team member quits or delays getting critical supplies or equipment. In this case, it’s up to the project manager to identify the root cause of the problem and develop a solution.

What makes an elite
project manager successful?

As a leader, you also have to be a team player.


Today, most organizations employ a hybrid method of working that relies heavily on technology. Organizations view diversity and inclusion as more critical due to the evidential benefits of diverse teams and mixed work methods.


Be an everyday leader *video*


This is paving the way for a shift in the project manager’s responsibilities, which must also deal with supply chain shortages and other problems that may cause a project to jeopardize deadlines and goals.

What does success mean for an elite manager?

Being an excellent project manager means adding strength to your technical leadership and communication skills, such as understanding that you have a supporting role and keeping those on your team motivated.


As a result, you will have to learn more about their expertise and trust them to lead the way.

Some argue that flexibility is more important than confidence in team leadership, and this might give your team enough room to grow by delegating, not only encouraging.


The best projects thrive due to open communication lines, especially in a hybrid environment. Many tools are available to facilitate communication and collaboration between team members, such as Slack or Teams; pick the one that works for everyone and makes communication the most transparent.

You are set!

Be the best project manager you can be!

(Or send this to your team leader and give them a quick nod! They’ll appreciate it if they are elite!)

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