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Leadership and the Project Manager. Chapter 4. Learning Goals . Understand how project management is a “leader intensive” profession. Distinguish between the role of a manager and the characteristics of a leader.

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Leadership and the project manager l.jpg

Leadership and the Project Manager

Chapter 4

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Learning Goals

  • Understand how project management is a “leader intensive” profession.

  • Distinguish between the role of a manager and the characteristics of a leader.

  • Understand the concept of emotional intelligence as it relates to how project managers lead.

  • Recognize traits that are strongly linked to effective project leadership.

  • Understand the implications of time orientation on project management.

  • Identify the key roles project champions play in project success.

  • Recognize the principles that typify the new project leadership.

  • Understand the development of project management professionalism in the discipline.

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“The ability to inspire confidence and support among the people who are needed to achieve organizational goals.”

Project management is leader intensive!

“For the project manager, leadership is the process by which he or she influences the project team to get the job done!”

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Leaders Vs. Managers

  • Managers have official titles in an organization with administration duties; plan, direct, and control the behaviors of others.

  • Leadersfocus on interpersonal relationships rather than administration; inspiring, motivating, and influencing others in pursuit of a goal.

    Important differences exist between the two:

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Differences Between Managers and Leaders

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Differences Between Managers and Leaders

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Differences Between Managers and Leaders

do the right thing

Command respect

develop new processes


focus on people


inspire trust


focused on potential

earn their position

have long-term goal

do things right

Demand respect


maintain the status quo

focus on systems


strive for control


focused on the bottom line

state their position

short-term view

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How the Project Manager Leads

Project managers function as mini-CEOs and manage both “hard” technical details and “soft” people issues.

Project managers:

  • acquireproject resources

  • motivate and build teams

  • have a vision and fight fires

  • communicate

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Acquiring Resources

  • Projects may be underfunded in the concept stage for a variety of reasons:

    • Deliberately vague goals, allows the project to be fluid

    • No top management sponsor

    • Requirements (resources) understated to get project accepted

    • Insufficient funds – too many projects occurring

    • Distrust between top managers and project managers thinking the needs have been padded

      Note: Resources can be considered either personnel or raw material

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Motivating and building teams

  • Motivation ultimately comes from within us

  • Each of us decides whether we will become motivated to do the work we are assigned

  • Successful project managers must recognize they need to be able to

    • Recognize talent

    • Recruit it

    • Mold a team of collaborative workers

    • ….apply motivational techniques as necessary

Definition: The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

See Herzburg Article - How to Motivate

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Motivating and building teams


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It is critical for a project manager to maintain strong contact with all stakeholders.

If they do not know what you are doing, they may assume you are doing nothing.

Productive project meetings featuretask orientedand group maintenancebehaviors and serve to:

  • update all participants on project status

  • increase understanding of the goal

  • drive commitment on how the team member fits into the team

  • make decisions as a group

  • provide visibilityof the project status

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Leadership & Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence refers to leaders’ ability to understand that effective leadership is part of the emotional and relational transaction between subordinates and themselves.

Five elements characterize emotional intelligence:

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Traits of an Effective Project Leader

A number of studies on effective project leadership reveals these common themes:

  • Effective communication

  • Flexibility to deal with ambiguity

  • Works well with the project team

  • Skilled at variousinfluencetactics

  • Encouraging

  • Honest

    What do you think would make an effective project leader?

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Seven Essential Project Management Abilities

  • Organizing under conflict – ability to manage and handle conflict

  • Experience – know how/where to get task done

  • Decision making

  • Productive creativity – implement innovative ideas

  • Organize with cooperation

  • Cooperative leadership

  • Analytical thinking

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What are Project Champions?

Champions are fanatics in the single-minded pursuit of their ideas.

Champions can be:

  • Creative originators – the driving force

  • Entrepreneurs – works to sell the idea

  • “Godfathers” - promote and protects

  • Project managers

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Champion Roles

Traditional Duties

  • technical understanding

  • team leadership

  • coordination & control of activities

  • obtaining resources

  • administrative

  • Nontraditional Duties

  • cheerleader

  • visionary

  • politician

  • risk taker

  • ambassador

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Creating Project Champions

  • Identify and encourage their emergence

  • Encourage and reward risk takers

  • Remember the emotional connection Champions may have to their project

  • Free Champions from traditional management roles so they can focus on effectivity not efficiency

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Steps to Developing Project Management Professionals

  • Match personalities to project work

  • Use training programs to formally commit to project management

  • Develop a unique award system for project managers

  • Identify a distinct career path for project managers

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The “New” Project Leadership

Four competencies determine a project leader’s success:

  • Understanding and practicing the power of appreciation of other’s talents.

  • Reminding people what’s important compared to the trivial many.

  • Generating and sustaining trust with team members.

  • Aligning, not dominating team members.

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Growing Professionalism of Project Management

  • Project work is becoming the standard for many organizations to achieve their goals

  • There is a critical need to upgrade the skills of current project workers through continual training and skill development

  • Project managers and support personnel need dedicated career paths where project management is a permanent career choice

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Chapter 4 Review and Discussion

  • The chapter stressed the idea that project management is a “leader intensive” undertaking. Discuss in what sense this statement is true.

  • How do the duties of project managers reinforce the role of leadership?

  • What are the key differences between leaders and managers?

  • Discuss the concept of emotional intelligence as it related to the duties of project managers. Why are the five elements of emotional intelligence critical to successful project management?

  • Consider the studies on trait theories in leadership. Of the characteristics that emerge as critical to effective leadership, which seem most critical to project managers? Why?

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Chapter 4 Review and Discussion

  • At the back of the chapter (page 129) is a Future Time Perspective scale. After completing it, determine whether you have a future time perspective, present time perspective, or past time perspective. What are the implications for the types of tasks you enjoy performing? How will your preferences lead to strengths and weaknesses in managing projects?

  • Why are project champions said to be better equipped to handle the “non-traditional” aspects of leadership?

  • Consider the discussion of “new project leadership.” If you were asked to formulate a principle that could be applied to project leadership, what would it be? Justify your answer.