Leadership is one of the most elusive disparities in project management. All successful project managers are not always the most successful leaders. Many of us probably have experienced interacting with such project managers wondering how these managers were able to meet their project goals without having the ability to motivate people and develop a cohesive team. The answer is that these managers were lucky enough to have team members who were passionate about their jobs and delivered the results, which helped the project managers to be successful. The challenge is that project management skills can be obtained through courses, certifications, and degrees but there are not such tools available to become an effective leader. On paper, project management skills may seem easy to develop. After all, project managers have a project team, schedule or project deadline, and budget to maintain. People may believe that everything should fall in place as long as the project managers “stay on top for thing” – right – only if we all lived in a perfect world. Project managers have a very complicated and challenging job. They are constantly dealing with changing project demands, personnel issues within the project teams, corporate cultures that do not support change, and other organizational changes taking place during the project life cycle. Effective project managers have learned and mastered the skill of effective leadership because they understand the value and importance of people and acknowledge that all projects are ultimately delivered by people! This paper examines the traits of effective leadership and explains what project managers are expected to do as leaders while proving their effective project management skills. Strategic Vision
For much of the twentieth century project management stressed procedural, managerial and operational functions that focus on coordinating and controlling internal and external resources. As a consequence, project managers and teams are typically focused on operational performance by meeting time, budget and technical goals. These activities are essential but in recent years, issues like the rapid rate of technological change and globalization have made today’s business environment more dynamic than ever. At the same time, cross-functional project based work has proliferated. As a result, researchers and practitioners alike have increasingly stressed that the nature of project management must change as well. While efficiency and operational issues remain important, many argue that organizations can be more successful when they encourage and empower their project managers to function as, "Strategic leaders who take total responsibility for project business results” (Current Issues in Technology Management – summer 2004). Project managers should improve their strategic eyesight by analyzing their group or organization’s internal and external strengths and limitations. Following five key areas can be considered while conducting internal analysis: 1. Operational factors (i.e., the efficiency, speed, and cost-effectiveness) 2. Product or technical factors (i.e., the product line quality or innovative capacity of organization) 3. Customer factors (i.e., the relationships and solution capacity available within the organization to meet customer needs) 4. Financial factors (i.e., the level of financial stability in the organization) 5. People factors (i.e., the quality of your workforce’s intellectual capital and job-related skills) Strategic vision can be directed to the following areas to analyze external factors: 1. Industry changes (i.e., challenges to growth and the basic business model) 2. Customer expectations and demographics
3. Government regulations
4. Human capital (i.e., the available talent pool)
(Warren Blank: The 108 Skills of Natural Born Leaders, 2001)
Project managers’ priorities are evaluated through their actions and...
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