We all know how important project managers are — they keep things moving and they make sure everything gets done on time. But the difference between a good project manager and a great project manager can make the difference between a good project and a great project. So how do you know what to look for? Top-notch project managers are both empathetic and direct, and rely on well-developed communication skills to facilitate great work. Here are some things you’ll hear the best project managers say to bring out their team’s best:

“How’s that going?”

It’s always easier to prevent an issue than to do damage control after the fact. The best project managers know this and are experts at anticipating needs and potential problems. Instead of waiting for something to go wrong, a great PM will proactively check in with suppliers and their crew to get ahead of any potential roadblocks. By being on the offense instead of defense, project managers can keep everything moving smoothly for both the customer and the crew on the job site.

“Let me stop by.”

Just like anticipating the project’s needs and potential issues, an excellent project manager does their best to streamline the communications and make every member of the team feel both heard and valued. While onsite meetings for the team can usually resolve any potential issues, a PM’s willingness to set up site visits with individuals and smaller teams can be incredibly valuable.

By supporting the customer with regular and as-needed visits to the job site, a great PM ensures that every member of the team is heard. Providing as-needed support also ensures that the coordination with the supplier can go uninterrupted, which keeps things running smoothly and efficiently. By staying in touch and communicating with each member of the team face-to-face, a great project manager keeps work moving while keeping the team motivated.

“This is looking great. Let’s…”

We know that a project manager that’s willing to give individual attention can be really beneficial, but we also know that feedback and constructive criticism are important steps in creating good results. The best project managers are able to juggle positive reinforcement while reiterating critical feedback (budget, deadlines, etc.). By keeping every member of the team supported, confident, and on track, a project manager can boost morale and productivity. This also opens the door for ongoing feedback from the customer, helping us to better serve you.

“So to recap, our action items are…”

As you’ve probably figured out, having a PM that’s a thoughtful communicator is essential. A great project manager knows how to talk to each team member and customer in the way that works best for them, sharing what’s important and being careful not to overwhelm them with anything else. The best project managers can turn chaos into clarity by making sure everyone knows what they’re accountable for, when it needs to be finished, and what it takes to get there. 

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