Project Managers Create Power through Leadership SkillsBy Erin Palmer on January 28th, 2013 Most people who have been in project management for awhile know that it’s a demanding field. Effective leadership skills will allow you to make the most of the varied talents and skills on the project teams that you manage so that you can consistently deliver optimal results within budget and on time.
In order to build an effective and efficient project team, project managers require strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to help people set aside differences and find common ground. Project work can be difficult, particularly in today’s business environment where project teams may be expected to do more with less, team members may be filling multiple roles, and teams face pressure to deliver results sooner. Project managers with a combination of strong project management skills and the ability to successfully lead people are viewed as highly valuable resources in most organizations.
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On the other is the issue that people attracted to these subjects, and therefore careers associated with project management, do not necessarily make the best leaders. Project management is both an art and a science, according to Phil Dunmore, head of consulting UK at Cognizant, but too often people become project managers by default, moving from operations roles to project management positions without the requisite training.
According to Mr Stephens, to create brilliant leaders of the future we need to invest in talent now and not by recruiting a load of wet blankets with no idea of how technical things come together, but by upgrading the current crop with multi-dimensional skills.
He believes there are four watch words that will help the sector reach this happy situation. Mr Stephens says this implies the freedom to “inspire, prioritise, direct, support, challenge, delegate, negotiate, encourage and reward the project team”, all geared towards umbrella goals and with one eye on the bottom line. It is a serious amount of responsibility, but it’s necessary to create trust in the process and in the leader. People skills are high on the agenda for Claire Arnold, founder and chief executive of Maxxim Consulting. For her, the constituent parts of a great project leader include being able to develop a shared purpose that runs the length of the team, as well as knowing when and how to signpost what has been achieved and what remains to be done.
Leaders must be prepared to “deviate from the script” and not stick rigidly to templates if circumstances change.
This assessment is echoed by Julie Wood, head of the global project management team at engineering and design consultancy Arup.
Great leaders, therefore, must be communicators and ingratiaters, but they must also make quick and clear-minded decisions in the middle of turbulent environments.
From new technology to globalisation, consumer behaviour to citizen journalism, projects must cope with more influences than ever before and, according to Richard Goold, partner at business transformation consultancy Moorhouse, the ability to anticipate, identify and react positively are increasingly sought-after qualities.


As a project manager, you need a diverse skill set to be successful, including the ability to identify and analyze goals, allocate resources, identify constraints, and manage work flow.  However, one of the most critical skills for you to have is leadership, particularly if you who want to distinguish yourself and advance your career.
Without adequate communication, team members often develop ideas and assumptions and reach conclusions on their own without the benefit of shared information, resulting in a lack of unified vision. Updating them on progress, as well as any roadblocks encountered, can help secure additional resources when needed, provide the team with key support, and get buy in from the right people to ensure the project’s success.
While all project teams have members who have differing opinions, team members should share a common vision for the goals and outcome of the project. In order to achieve the project goals, you must be able to motivate teams to push forward, particularly during times of adversity or when the challenges seem impossible.  Without motivation, work quality and quantity generally suffers.
The decisions you make as a project manager often set your team’s course of action which ultimately determines the project’s outcome. Every member on a project team needs a fundamental set of negotiation skills, but it’s most critical in the project manager role.
Highly developed interpersonal and leadership skills, including the skills listed above, help project managers effectively manage any size project and increase their odds of successfully meeting project objectives on time and within budget. In our churches, communities, school districts and even our families, we find ourselves volunteering (or being "volunteered"!) to lead an activity, event or project. They are problem-solvers, puzzlers and technical obsessives, often lacking the skills required to manage large groups of people.
In addition, it’s now more commonly recognised that project management is a valid career and requires a skillset that has to be acquired,” says Mr Dunmore. Project leaders adhere to industry standards and systems, but in addition to simply “getting on with it” they must create a shared vision of success for the whole organisation.
Chief executives, assuming they are not also the project leader, must foster this environment where people are encouraged to be totem bearers for the business.
A respected leader is one who can bring experience to a project and breed confidence through his or her wisdom. Leaders must be able to control projects and keep specific parts in check, as well as raising constructive challenges to operations if progress slows or plans start to lose relevance. She argues that project management is as simple as getting people to work together to deliver a predefined outcome, so a leader’s ability to rally people is central to the job. They should know how to make work enjoyable and communicate on multiple stages, from top-level statements to one-to-one conversations in plain English. She says project managers have to communicate succinctly and get straight to the point, but they must also be brilliant listeners.
The world in which project leaders operate is increasingly “agile”, and the forces of change are proliferating and getting stronger by the day.


The first step to understanding is to look at the characteristics of a great leader in project management. In addition, team members may be unclear as to what their responsibilities are, deadlines for work assigned, and how their tasks impact the team and the project as a whole. By letting the team get to know each other, team building helps team members come together to set goals and accomplish the project tasks.
Teams often go through different stages in decision making and it’s common for conflict to occur as teams work through the process of developing solutions. Project managers must be able to barter not only with other team members, but also with those external to the project team. The more leadership skills you possess, the more valuable you become and the stronger your career prospects are.
She writes about topics related to PMI certification programs and other various project management topics. If you find yourself in this position and feel overwhelmed with the expectations, coaching can help!
On one hand not enough students are taking subjects that imbue them with technical nous – the so called STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths. The nature of project management means it is always changing, so leaders need to evolve leadership styles to suit each new permutation. In addition to confusion, this may cause an inefficient use of resources, a lack of progress, and less than optimal solutions. Team building can have several other positive effects, including improving morale, communication, and productivity.
You must be able to steer the group successfully through each stage and help the team make good, timely decisions. External negotiations can secure additional resources for the team, determine budget and scope, or remove obstacles to accomplishing the project vision.
Coaching provides you with objective support and encouragement to ensure an excellent outcome!
Without good team dynamics, you’ll have a hard time delivering the results you need for success. Once a decision has been made, you should give it your full support and move on to other phases of the project, but keep an eye out for key points when new decisions need to be made.



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