Few introductory project management books dedicate any of their text to good behaviors of project leaders since they all follow the philosophy of how a project manager “manages” people via project management processes and they all shy away from how a project manager should be leading the project stakeholder units with hard and soft skills.
We should also recognize the other side of the coin for project leadership and understand where executive leadership is needed on a project, After all, senior management is involved with business plan and direction, project commitment, managing business change and helping to manage business risks and issues.
So, the project manager is not the sole provider of project leadership. To clarify, here are project areas where project leadership is needed and who can provide it:
Project Area for Project Manager Leadership
Project Team, Technical Issues, Communication and Facilitation
Project Area for Senior Manager Leadership
Managing Business Change, Business Issues, Project Direction and Commitment
Project Area for Project Manager and Senior Manager Leadership
Managing Risks, Managing Stakeholder Expectations
But even with the call out to where the project leadership responsibilities lay, a project manager must be empowered to operate effectively for project success. The majority of their decisions should be made independently without having to pass through the chain of command to operate effectively in their business environment. This involves using hard and soft skills that each project manager should possess:
• interpersonal skills (getting along with people)
• personal traits (attitude, value and personal conduct)
• technology management skills (familiarity with technologies used in the project)
• program management process skills ( understanding and using project management tools and techniques)
In summary, project leadership is the ability to motivate others to want to do what the manager thinks is the best thing to do. When both sides of the project leadership coin work together, it usually leads to project success without cost!
Your additional comments are welcomed!
Mary Ann Crow, PMP