Real estate development and construction project managers excel at multitasking.

Impeccable attention to detail, budget adherence and the ability to manage multiple timelines are all fundamental aspects of the job. However, to continue to advance in their fields, real estate leaders need to embrace soft skills as well.

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Interpersonal and communication skills are essential for successful leaders. In the case of real estate development, what often got us here — the ability to make and implement tough decisions — is not enough to advance.

In other words, many of us have achieved a level of project management success because we were able to make decisions that may not have been popular; our indifference to being liked was an advantage.

However, to take our careers to the next level, we have to do a bit of ego management. Specifically, while it is still critical to take into account all variables, we have to add to the list of variables we consider important.

No longer is it all about money and time. We have to account for the relationships and politics involved.

By embracing the nuances of interpersonal communication and actively seeking to provide clear, respectful insight while communicating with sincerity, we can build more genuine and mutually beneficial relationships that will help reinforce our role as a leader.


Mindset is the other soft skill the best leaders embrace. In the case of development and construction management, this translates to additional ego management, specifically admitting we do not know everything.

By leaving room for other expert opinions, we can raise the level of our decision-making, which can be particularly helpful as our projects and portfolios become more complex.

Similarly, while we may be comfortable trusting our own instincts, as we continue to grow professionally, we have to begin to acknowledge two things related to instinct.

First, that other people have instincts worth following. Second, the better we are at defining what drives our instinct, the better we will be at helping others, particularly those reporting to us, more clearly define their thought processes.

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Finally, while we may have no problem believing in our ability to pull projects from the brink of budget or timeline disasters, we need to begin to recognize the creative skills we have that allow us to do so.

Much of the work has clear parameters, but it is our ability to be creative with the resources we have within those parameters to successfully overcome obstacles. By recognizing the importance of creativity in our work, we can dedicate more time on our calendar and space in our methodology for our creative skills to grow.

Real estate development and construction management are traditionally project-oriented. Thus, adherence to strict standards leads to success.

However, to continue to grow into leadership roles within the industry, it is incumbent upon us to look outside these defined roles and embrace soft skills like interpersonal communication, open-mindedness and creativity. By focusing on these areas, we can continue to learn and grow professionally.