Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sacred PM Practices – Project Leadership

Project Leadership is the ability to use interpersonal relationships to stimulate and guide people toward the accomplishment of a project.

Many of the respondents made a strong distinction between project management and project leadership. While there are various definitions offered, a leader seems to be the one who achieves goals by influencing others, has a respect for expectations and perceptions, and directs others with a shared vision. A project manager, on the other hand, simply manages a project schedule, checks on progress, and tries to contain scope. Other comments from respondents included the following sentiments:
  • While a leader may not like office politics, he knows politics is part of the work environment. He does his best to use politics to his project’s advantage.
  • A leader makes an effort to understand all the personal agendas and expectations of the key stakeholders. He tries to understand why each does, or does not, want the project to succeed.
  • A leader is successful in establishing and managing relationships

Have you also had difficulty describing how leadership contrasts with management? Pawel Brodzinski tackled this question here. Do you simply know leadership when you see it?


  1. Great post. I think for a Project Manager, to be a leader they still have to be a strong manager.

  2. I agree - leadership and management are different things, and they're not mutually exclusive.

    I use the term "project leader" to describe a wide range of people who play leadership roles on a project. The PM isn't the only PL - the chief architect, the software programmers, the budget guru... the list goes on. Basically, it includes anyone who makes decisions & influences the direction of the project.

    There's more about this at my blog, Stop on by!