The Leading Skills You’ll Need to Be a Successful Construction Project Manager

construction manager

Many people who have been on a worksite have wondered what it’s like to be a construction project manager. The job appears to be incredibly exciting given the many moving pieces. Also, success as a construction project manager no doubt opens the doors to other career opportunities and further advancement.

With that said, there are certain important competencies that aspiring candidates must possess. If you’re in the market for a construction project manager opportunity, be sure to first hone these skills for improved chances of success:

Communication is Key for Any Construction Project Manager

Strong communication skills are important for all leaders, but they’re especially critical in the world of construction. Confusing messages are not only very dangerous but also increase the chances of missing the timeline and budget goals. Construction project managers must communicate clearly with workers, owners, and clients.

While on the worksite, effective dialogue helps to ensure that tasks are completed properly and steps aren’t skipped. It also facilitates compliance with safety protocols. On the business end of things, communication sets realistic expectations with construction owners and clients to mitigate preventable conflicts.


Many construction projects are shockingly large in size and scope. Successful leaders learn to delegate tasks to supervisors and foremen, as there are simply too many workers to micromanage. Construction project managers must remember that their primary function is to focus on the big picture and ensure all the pieces of the puzzle come together.


There are few jobs that require precise planning and organizational skills like those within construction project management. Small oversights can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more. Poor planning also squanders valuable time, which creates a variety of serious problems ranging from angry clients to permitting issues and labor challenges.

Risk Management

Nobody has a “crystal ball,” and the future is never entirely clear. But, successful construction project managers have the foresight to plan for bumps in the road. Effective risk management mandates that leaders have contingency plans for when things do go wrong.

Construction project managers are wise to proactively draw up alternative plans in the event that materials aren’t delivered in time or permitting runs afoul. For example, a project may call for completing the plumbing prior to electrical. But, if uncontrollable circumstances dictate the reverse, a construction project manager should be able to adapt.


Although the term “solution-oriented” sounds a bit cliché, the attribute is very important to the success of any construction project manager. Perhaps the client requests a last-minute change that risks unreasonable scope creep. In that case, a solution-oriented construction project manager will find ways to communicate to the client beyond simply saying, “No.” They may suggest an alternative change that partially addresses the client’s newfound desire but is more realistic in terms of costs and timelines.

Final Thoughts

While getting that first job as a construction project manager certainly requires the right experience and technical chops, there are other less tangible attributes that are also critical to success. Some of these cannot simply be developed overnight. So, it’s important that aspiring leaders work on strengthening these competencies early in their careers.

If you’re a job seeker looking for a construction project manager position, be sure to consult with an industry-leading recruiting firm for the best opportunities!

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