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Project Managers and Their Personalities

written by: RobinRaven • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 4/29/2013

Project managers all have distinct and varied personalities. However, there are certain patterns in the personalities of people who are drawn to this position. Max Wideman wrote a 1996 paper that described personality types of project managers as the explorer, driver, coordinator and administrator.

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    Which Type Are You?

    Project managers have personalities that generally fall somewhere within the four types established by the 1996 paper by Max Wideman. One is either an explorer, driver, coordinator or administrator. Since all humans are quite different, one can fall somewhere between two types, but it covers the basis for those usually drawn into the high level of responsibility that comes with being a project manager.

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    The Administrative Manager

    Project Manager Personality Types The administrative manager is a type of project manager that usually has observed the need for scheduling and managing repetition of work in order to achieve the goals of the group. This familiarity is seen as a strong leap toward success. This manager is usually comfortable delegating and instructing on definite ways of accomplishing the goals of the group. She may even micro-manage her group to ensure that the pieces fall where they properly fit during group efforts.

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    The Coordinating Manager

    A manager who fits the stereotype of a coordinator is typically quite amicable. The coordinator allows the individuals of the group to stand on their own and tends to respect the decisions made by those in the know of her group. She can take a step back and see the overall perspective of a project, respecting the work that others do for the overall company goals. Instead of correcting an erring teammate, she may have encouraging advice for what the worker is doing right in an effort to steer her in a more positive direction. She's more likely to give in to calls for change among the group than other managers, and she is usually quick to admit when she's wrong. This type of manager is typically very adaptable to change as well.

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    The Driving Manager

    The driving manager knows that she's in control. She was appointed as the project manager, and she's going to manage it as she feels is just and right. She works extremely hard, but she also expects the same work ethic from her crew. Certain personality types are sure to butt heads with this type of management style. However, she's probably self-disciplined and has a clear goal and plan in motion for the group. Many people prefer to work with this type of manager because they know where they stand with her and they know where the project is ultimately going. She's not easily swayed by the demands of others if she knows she's on the right course.

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    The Exploring Manager

    The manager who fits the stereotype of being the explorer is usually a lot of fun. She has a clear vision of a bright future, and she may see the current project as an important stepping stone. She typically sees the big picture. She is always searching for ways to make things run even more smoothly or even more accurately. This can annoy workers who simply like to go with the flow. However, this type of manager may get the job done faster than other types because her innovative approach leads to new paths of project completion.

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