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Leadership in Project Management
By Jackson Bruno

Project managers need to be effective leaders throughout their lives. As defined in the PMBOK, Leadership is ‘the ability to get work done by focusing the efforts of a group of people towards a common goal and enabling them to work as a team’.

Project managers need to inspire and motivate people in the direction of a common goal and transcend their own self-interest to provide a profound effect on his/her team.

A Project Manager needs to effectively and actively use these sets of skills to be a good leader:

  • A vision of where to go and how he will get there. Visionary leaders can easily enable and empower people and make them feel like they are part of a larger cause and are important for the project.
  • Good communication skills are essential to ensure that everyone is aware of the ground rules, project status, responsibility and performance.

  • Negotiation skills allow the team to move forward, and persuade if necessary, to ensure success of the project and team. You have to win the hearts and minds of your team members so they absolutely trust you.

  • Walk the talk. Don’t just preach to team members about what they should be doing, actually do it! With this comes personal integrity as well. As a leader, the only acceptable behavior is to be ethical at all times and set an example for all team members.

  • Be optimistic. Leaders must always have a positive view of what is coming down the pipe, no matter what. Optimism is passed down the line to team members, which helps create a healthy environment for everyone.

  • Lead to success. The leader needs the ability to truly inspire, empower and support team members through the project to ensure that everyone will be successful.

  • Stay cool, there’s no reason to lose control. Good leaders take challenges as opportunity to develop their own problem-solving skills, and there’s always an opportunity to try to influence the results.

  • And finally, it is extremely important for a leader to understand each individual and to use the appropriate leadership style depending on each phase a project team goes through (storming, forming, etc…). It is also important to understand the human nature and actively try to form a relationship with each member of the team…remember, win the heart and soul!

Jackson Bruno, PMP, Prince2, MBA is an experienced Finance Project Manager. You can read more from Jackson on his newly created blog.

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