The Top 11 Traits of Exceptional Grant Proposal Managers

According to Steve Tobak of Inc. magazine, successful bosses have certain traits in common.  Based on my own experiences and observations, the same could be said of successful grant proposal managers.  They all embody traits that lead to the development of highly competitive proposals.

 I have taken Tobak’s list of top ten traits, added one, and applied them to proposal managers.  How many of these traits do you already have as a proposal manager?  Which ones do you need to develop?

 Figure out who to listen to and who to ignore.

If you have a choice, learn from already successful proposal managers.  They understand what it means to produce great proposals. 

 Hold yourself and others accountable.

Accept responsibility for what you do and hold the proposal team accountable too.  Without this, nothing else counts.

 Spring no surprises.

Proposal development can be a long, demanding, and stressful process.  Throwing your colleagues off kilter only makes it worse. 

 Fix things.

A major part of being a good proposal manager is to identify and solve problems and resolve issues successfully.

 Have a feel for the entire process.

Some people are very good at specific tasks.  A successful proposal manager has a grasp of the details and a superb understanding of the entire proposal development process.

 Get the job done.

As Woody Allen once said, 80 percent of life is showing up.  Show up early and get the right things done.

 Manage vertically and horizontally.

Good grant proposal managers learn how to manage their teams and also work productively with senior management at the same time.  Without this ability, the proposal development process often flounders.

 Make good decisions.

This obviously is very difficult.  One way to do it is to ask the right people the right questions.

 Be effective.

Nowadays, this means learning how to get everyone around you to work cooperatively and productively to submit highly competitive proposals.  This is easy to say but hard to do.

 Be engaged.

If you are not highly motivated, driven, and involved in your work, why should your colleagues?  Make your work an integral part of life without being overwhelmed by it.

 Develop a sense of humor, humility, and empathy.

No one likes self-important people unless they are extraordinarily talented.  This excludes most of us.  Develop a realistic perspective on yourself and your work.

 I think that these are the best qualities we would like to see in ourselves and in our work colleagues.  Manifest more of them and you will become a more successful grant proposal manager.

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