Figure 1 shows the Essential Traits (in order of importance) or core attributes that were reliable predictors of success in the customized template of Project Manager. That is, all of the 28 people in the pilot study scored high in these traits. To clarify further on these seven traits:
- Takes Initiative - All 28 scored substantial or strong in this attribute. These are all self starters
- Enthusiastic - Likewise all 28 scored substantial or strong in this attribute as well. These people are able to motivate and energize those around them.
- Finance/Business - Again, all 28 scored very high in this attribute. They had a "natural head" for business.
- Wants to Lead - So much for project management being the "accidental profession".
- Analytical (but not overly so) - They did not succumb to "paralysis by analysis". They were able to gather enough facts to make sound business and technical decisions, but did not agonize over making them.
- Handles Autonomy - These people did not have to be told what to do nor when to do it. Not only did they take initiative, and were enthusiastic, but they were able to figure out what needed to be done and when.
- Wants Challenge - This group tended to be impatient and easily bored and wanted to attempt difficult tasks.
Figure 2 shows the listing of Desirable Traits. As noted previously, scoring high (i.e. to the right) researched showed was not important but if the candidate did score low, indicating a potential negative impact, to the left, it would lower their overall PM suitability. As in the essential traits, the box to the left of each trait indicates the potential negative impact of that trait on performance. The colored area within the box indicates the probable impact on performance of the candidate's tendencies (i.e. their score) for that trait.
This part of the research proved to be very interesting, because when we first started out, we expected that Organizing, Planning, Handling Conflict, Managing Stress and a Systematic Approach would be the top ranked predictors, but our initial research showed otherwise.
Then we identified another set of attributes described as: Traits to Avoid. These are "killers" in which if a person had a high score, indicating to the left on any of these, it would be unlikely that they would succeed as project managers at all! If a person scores even moderately to strongly to the left, it is unlikely that he or she will succeed as a project manager. These are shown in Figure 3.
While these traits are pretty obvious, and would probably be unacceptable to anyone working in a management position, the primary impact would be to lower the overall score.
Figure 3: Example of Killer Attributes Assessment Score