What is the profile of a good project manager?

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This guest post is by Ben Snyder, CEO and founder of Systemation, a project management training and consulting firm.

Finding the “perfect” project manager is the challenge
How assessment works
Skill 1: People-Oriented
Skill 2 – Centered
Skill 3: Big Picture-Oriented, Creative
Skill 4: Detail-Oriented and Systematic
The links between attitudes

Ben Snyder examines the skills and behaviors that can help a project manager become successful. His analysis is based upon over 10 years of data that captures PM roles and their success.
Finding the “perfect” project manager is the challenge
Many managers wish they had a clear process for identifying project managers who are more than average. Although they know that their gut instincts work well, they feel that there should be a better way of evaluating candidates to ensure that they succeed more often.
Systemation has been evaluating project managers for more than a decade using its comprehensive Project Manager Assessment.
The vast majority of project managers that we evaluated were part of a larger coaching and training program where a Systemation coach mentored each manager for two hours every other week for six months.
Systemation was able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of project managers and draw specific conclusions from the assessment results.
Ben Snyder
How assessment works
There are three distinct categories to the assessment: aptitudes, skills, knowledge. The knowledge section identifies, via multiple-choice questions the amount of The Guide To the Project Management Body of Knowledge [PMBOK(r), Guide] the project manager understands.
The skills component targets soft skills and evaluates them using an evaluation tool that is available to all project participants. The aptitudes component evaluates the core characteristics of the project leader through a series of psychological tests.
The results were clear before we received them. It was obvious that the knowledge and skill categories would improve over time. However, aptitudes are core to an individual and cannot be changed without major environmental changes and 5-10 years of experience.
We were not able to predict the future trends in project management and aptitudes.
After hundreds of assessments, the profile of a good project manager looks something like this.
Skill 1: People-Oriented
People-oriented project managers are essential. They should enjoy working with people, be able to recognize emotions and empathize.
Only 14% of those who took the assessment scored low in their people orientation. All those who scored low on this aptitude were unable to build relationships and get the best out of their teams. They had to be reassigned.
This lesson teaches us that people orientation is the most important skill in project managers. Those who select project manager candidates often have a good sense for this ability.
Skill 2 – Centered
Next in importance is how well-organized a project manager can be.
Project managers are more focused when they are confident, aware of their assets and liabilities, have a desire to achieve, can remain calm under stressful conditions, and can adapt to changes when things don’t go according to plan.
This aptitude did not affect their performance if their score was high or moderately high, as it was in 81%.
If they scored low, they were seen as emotionally volatile and untrustworthy for their team members to follow.
If you don’t have the aptitude, you can use i