The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a book by Stephen Covey that every aspiring project manager should read. Aside from this; Project Management Book of Knowledge is also recommended. All successful project managers apply or have heard of the habits mentioned in this book.

The points mentioned below come into play a bit later. First, a manager has to learn to act with complete integrity. This basically means that they should not take benefit of the power of their position, deal fairly with people at all levels, speak the truth, and always be honest. These qualities make a successful project manager and believe it or not, are more important than having technical knowledge.

Here are the top 5 habits of successful project managers. 

project managers

1. Be a Proactive Project Manager

There are three kinds of project managers; accidental project manager, excellent project manager, and proactive project manager. An accidental project manager is one that has worked in the past under different project managers on various projects. They have worked their way up to become a project manager. These managers have good technical knowledge but very less managerial expertise. Such managers may have a hard time branching out and building functional teams for getting the job done.

A good project manager has the adequate technical knowledge, and they have worked in managerial positions as well, so they are somewhat familiar with what a project manager needs to do. Good managers will only get the job done but nothing more than that. They abide by the rules and are scared to innovate or try out new things with their teams.

A proactive manager is far-sighted, empathetic, and democratic. They are able to identify possibilities that might hinder work and device alternate course of action for those situations. They step into the shoes of team members and try to look at things from their perspective and make use of task management software to delegate tasks and take the opinion of team members on different projects.

2. Focus on the Final Outcome

Project managers are burdened with the task of taking right decisions. This requires them to analyse each task carefully. Analysis work takes up a lot of time and causes delays in the project. There are numerous teams working on the same project. The project is divided into smaller pieces and then distributed to teams. These tasks are further divided and each team member now has a subtask.

With the project broken down into so many pieces, a project manager may forget what the final outcome looks like. The project is a culmination of work of different teams. Therefore, it is the duty of the project manager that they make sure each member is doing exactly what they are supposed to do. Successful project managers have a habit of using project management software as it keeps a track on the work done by each member in the teams.

3. Planning

A meeting where everyone is blabbering and no one is listening is completely useless and everyone will go home without getting anything done. Good managers inform the panel in advance the points to be discussed in the meeting. Successful project managers not only hear, but they listen and then process the information. To process the information correctly, the managers must ask questions to clarify their doubts. And to ask questions, they must listen carefully in the first place.

The questions you fire makes the speaker realize that you have heard them carefully and now it’s their turn to reverberate the same when you speak. Successful managers have an action plan in place and are prepared with alternate course of action if anything goes sideways. A successful project manager gives everyone a chance to vent their feelings or opinions on a particular topic.

4. Be a Dynamic Manager

A cohesive team is essential to complete a project. To build a cohesive team, a manager might have to let go of certain plans or strategies. Successful project managers are sympathetic and they think about the well-being of coworkers, clients, suppliers, and superiors. Also, they are prepared for situations when things don’t go as planned. They always have a Plan B in place.

However, it is sometimes difficult to find situations where everyone benefits. Finding out such situations is a comprehensive and time-consuming task and managers might not want to go that far. But successful project managers leave no leaf unturned to make sure that the team, the company, and the manager themselves are in a win/win situation. One unexpected advantage of this; the manager may find new ways to increase productivity, synergy, trust, and cohesiveness.

5. Document Everything

A manager must have the habit of writing everything that happens in a day. This allows them to analyze the productive bits and the unproductive bits of the day. Using this information, managers can eliminate habits or tasks which take a significant amount of time but are not as fruitful. This habit is particularly helpful in keeping the project on schedule, monitoring progress, and better utilisation of resources.


Following these habits will not only make you a successful task manager but also a better person in life. However, in the beginning, you may find all this to be a bit daunting and hectic but once you become acquainted to these habits, it will be very hard for you to let them go which is obviously a good thing.

It takes around 20 – 30 days to fully adopt a habit. Once you have gone through the adoption phase, these habits will come to you automatically and will stay with you throughout your career.

Author Bio – Shyamal Parikh

Shyamal Parikh is the CEO and founder of SmartTask, a project management tool. Through online collaboration, SmartTask helps companies increase their productivity by as much as 40%.