Project Leadership is a two-sided coin!

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

http://www.terminus.net/

Hi Mary Ann

 I do accept your view on Project Leadership but for one small point. You have mentioned that "project leadership is the ability to motivate others to want to do what the manager thinks is the best thing to do."

My question is even though the project manager should be in the drivers seat Is it not a team effort that sees the project through? Does the project manager not learn things from the team members. So in my view the project manager should be able to get the feed back from the team and implement based on the general consensus of what the stakeholders thinks is good for the project and if there is a difference of opinion then the Project Manger can put his foot down and force a decision which he is thinks is right (and does not compromise the Customers requirement).

Please let me know if my interpretation is wrong or your intention was to discuss not these minor points but the leadership as a whole.

Regards
Sujit PMP

First, thanks for your comments that are well stated and I believe that we are both expressing the same ideas about project leadership, just with different phrases.

You state: "Does the project manager not learn things from the team members. So in my view the project manager should be able to get the feed back from the team..." and I state that it is the project leadership role of the PM to manage the project team and that would entail soliciting advice and comments from the team by exercising his/her management skills. 

We both know that project success or failure is by total utiliization of all roles and skills of the project team.

Thanks again for your comments, 

Mary Ann Crow, PMP

http://www.terminus.net/ 

Sure, no problem. Thanks for clarifying.  

Regards
Sujit, PMP