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The Role of Leadership in Project Management

23rd May, 2024
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    The Role of Leadership in Project Management

    What makes a company best? The answer is simple, the way it caters to the client's needs. If the customers or clients associated with the business get satisfied, it will help earn an excellent market reputation and fetch more projects. Thus, it is crucial to ensure the timely delivery of projects fulfilling all the client's needs. All this is possible if you have a dedicated team of experts familiar with project management operations.

    These experts handle every aspect of a project from start to finish, leading it toward successful delivery. They ensure assigning the tasks to the right teams, allocating adequate resources, and encouraging better communication between teams. Additionally, the project management experts check and ensure that the project is on the right track and will address any signs of project delay. This team gets led by the project leader, who has a thorough knowledge of the domain and can ensure the expected results.

    What is Project Leadership?

    Project leadership is a skill that steers different teams working on the same project toward successful delivery. Professionals in this domain often take specialized certification programs by completing Project Management training online. These experts can design a strategy for the project completion after checking the requirements and results. Their ability to identify potential troubles and their solutions is exceptional. So, businesses can put their trust in them.

    Understand that a project manager and a leader are two different professionals, and there is a significant difference in their job roles. A manager does the assigning part while a leader plans for the future. The job of these professionals is to schedule activities and ensure everything happens on time. On the other hand, leadership in project management is a job role that verifies if the targets and the efforts are feasible. So, you can dig deeper and learn more about the project lead job description in the roles and responsibilities section for better clarity.

    Why Do Organizations Require Project Management Leaders? 

    If you are still wondering why organizations require a project management team lead, know that there are plenty of reasons for this. Untimely delivery of projects or not meeting the requirements of your clients can lead you into trouble. It earns a poor reputation for your business, eventually affecting your revenue. However, when you have multiple teams working on the same project, delays due to conflicts and other reasons are inevitable!

    Thus, there is a need to plan and supervise the work done by every team to ensure everything happens smoothly. It is not something a naïve can do, so there is a need to hire an expert for project team leadership. This person will plan strategies for project completion, meeting all required standards. Moreover, these experts also supervise each step during the process, ensuring zero flaws or bugs that can lead to delays or compromise the product quality.

    Importance of Leadership Role in Project Management

    Leadership in project management determines whether your business will succeed or fail. It is a skill that helps every organization deliver projects on time and stand tall on their market reputation. A project leader must manage everything related to the task and complete it within the allotted time. Not only this, but the project manager's leadership skills are also helpful for the apt use of resources, ensuring zero wastage and making the most of the resources used.

    Additionally, different teams are working on the same project and don't need to have the same work ethics. If the way one works does not comply with the other, there are higher chances of conflicts that can unnecessarily delay the process. Thus, only a leader can understand the situation and make a fair decision, which is fruitful for successful project delivery. These people get trained in project management with attention to essential aspects like resource allocation, task assignment, and constant monitoring. Without these skills and supervision, the work quality often gets compromised. So, every organization needs to hire the best project management team.

    Role of Leadership in Project Management

    For any organization, it is vital to understand the project leader's roles and responsibilities. When you know what you can expect from the experts in this team, you can make the most of their skills and ensure the timely delivery of projects. Moreover, it helps organize special training programs for your team to ensure they develop the skills that help manage any project process professionally. The roles of leadership in project management are as listed below: 

    1. Focus on People

    The first role of the leader is to focus on people in different teams and decide who will be apt for the project under question. Then, he would gather all the requirements and plan a strategy for how things will proceed. Moreover, they choose people from each team who can efficiently handle any project. For example, he will take the skilled people from the development, design, and testing units and brief them on the project in detail. It is crucial to choose the right people as not everybody has the skill set to handle all types of projects.

    2. Focus on Requirements

    Another vital role of a leader is to gather the requirements in detail. He would discuss the needs and the feasibility with the client and generate a report of all the requirements. This document gets used as a prototype for every team, telling them what the client wants. Ambiguity in the requirement sheet will ultimately lead to poor project delivery, wasting time and resources! Thus, it is among the crucial project management team roles to gather the requirements, ensuring there is no confusion in client needs.

    3. Relationship Building

    Another aspect of project management that the leaders focus on is building relationships. The teams need to stay cordial and work collaboratively to yield better results. Additionally, it is vital to have a stronger relationship between your team and the client, so they can communicate and move towards successful project delivery. Therefore, the leaders handling tasks in the project management domain emphasize relationship building so that task completion can happen smoothly.

    4. Task Management

    Lastly, it is the role of leadership to manage every task assigned to the different teams working on the project delivery. This is because each team member depends on the other, and the project can only get completed if they all work together. Hence, the leaders focus on managing tasks amongst themselves to ensure smoother operations and successful project completion.

    These are the fundamental roles of leadership in any project management process. Hence, you need to ensure that the person you assign this task to has the necessary skills to deliver the expected outcomes. Understand that hiring an incompetent expert is equivalent to hiring no expert!

    Responsibilities of Project Leader

    The fundamentals remain the same when the project lead's responsibilities are under question! They should ensure that the end product meets the project requirements and gets delivered on time. However, a lot of hard work goes into achieving this final outcome. There is a new challenge and a new role to plan at each step. These strategies turn into the responsibilities that a project leader fulfills. You will even find these responsibilities in the lead project manager job description when you start applying for jobs. Let us discuss some task responsibilities in detail.

    1. Negotiations

    When you gather requirements from the client, many things will not be feasible. Moreover, the client can even make unreasonable demands that do not comply with the budget or product. Thus, it is essential to negotiate these demands with them and come to common grounds before the team starts working on it. Handling these negotiations is something that only a project management leader can do well, so it comes under his responsibility.

    2. Solving Conflicts

    Conflicts can happen between two teams, people in a similar workforce, or even the client and your professionals. If you do not resolve these conflicts or the difference of opinions on time, it can affect the project delivery. The responsibility of a leader is to understand the story of both sides and provide a solution that everyone accepts! Timely conflict resolutions are helpful as they help eliminate unnecessary delays.

    3. Inspiring Team

    It is crucial to keep your team motivated and inspired all the time so that they work to their full potential. That is where you need a leader! The project management leader knows the right tricks to handle a demotivated team or employee. They will address this issue immediately and ensure that each member in the time stays motivated to do their best.

    4. Better Awareness

    There are dedicated teams for every aspect. Some do the design part, while others handle development and testing. Similarly, the leaders handle every aspect that requires outside awareness. The project management team's roles and responsibilities also include a better understanding of political and cultural aspects. It is essential to ensure that the end product developed by the team is legal in all aspects. 

    5. Communication

    A project management lead bridges the gap between the client and the teams. Before, during, and even at the point of submission, the client and the team can develop multiple queries. It is the duty of a leader to fill this gap and act as a medium of communication between these two entities. They ensure everybody gets a clear message and stays directed toward successful project delivery.

    When your project management leader fulfills all these responsibilities appropriately, the results will be excellent, and your client will get satisfied. Therefore, it is better to mention all this in your PMO leader job description so that people working with you know what you expect.

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    The Road to Gaining Project Leadership Roles

    Leadership is so crucial for every business that it has become a much-in-demand job role. Companies often look for professionals who can handle project management tasks, ensure timely deliveries, meeting the quality standards that the client expects. Thus, it is a promising career option with an excellent pay scale. If you are also planning to grab a role as a project management leader, the steps listed below can help!

    Step 1: Educate Yourself

    The first step is to gather enough information about project management tasks and how leadership affects it. Next, learn about the necessary skills, qualifications, and the process involved in management to know what you will have to do. This information will help you plan your career better and will eliminate the chances of any confusion.

    Step 2: Find a Mentor

    If you need more information or want someone to help you become a leader in project management, the ideal way is to find a mentor. First, take counselling from reliable professionals and ask them how to achieve the position you have been eyeing. A mentor can give you a custom roadmap depending on your educational background and expected outcomes. 

    Step 3: Plan a Strategy

    The next step is to plan a strategy to become a leader! You may need to upgrade your qualifications and do some certification courses to professional training in this domain. Other than this, you may need to work on your skills to become a qualified professional who can prove to be an asset to an organization. This strategy should be well-planned and implemented well to get the required position.

    Step 4: Relevant Qualification

    If you plan to handle IT projects, it would be fruitful to have some understanding of the domain. Thus, you can start early and plan your educational journey in a way to ultimately reach your goal of becoming a leader in the project management domain. However, even if you realize it later and want to change your domain, doing the certification courses in the project management industry would be apt.

    Step 5: Interpersonal Skills

    It is vital to work on your interpersonal skills and develop the qualities like effective communication, understanding of behavioral patterns, and management skills. For example, if you are not confident enough about representing your organization in front of clients, work on it until you prepare for the same.

    Following this simple roadmap to becoming a leader in project management tasks, you can prepare yourself for promising job opportunities in a renowned organization. Once you get on a journey of becoming a skilled leader, your future gets secured.

    Top 5 Leadership Theories

    Leadership is not a concept or a term with a set definition. It is an elaborate domain in itself. There are different approaches that project management leaders use to fulfill their roles and responsibilities. These are the theories that every option for the best PMP prep course teaches, making a professional skilled enough to handle any situation during project delivery. Let us discuss the five theories that are common in this domain.

    1. Trait Theory

    This theory emphasizes the traits or strengths of a manager. The leader looks into the qualities of a manager to decide how he wants to plan the tasks. For example, if he knows his manager is assertive and proactive, he will never avoid throwing challenges at him. At the same time, he would think twice if the manager or the team was under-confident. 

    2. Behavioral Theory

    How a leader plans the strategy is what behavioral theory is all about. There are two types of leaders, one who includes their team in every discussion and take their input in decision-making. On the other hand, some autocrats decide everything on their own. None of them is right or wrong; the success of a project depends on the decisions, and if the leader considers all the scenarios before deciding something, things will fall into place. 

    3. Situational Theory

    As the name suggests, this theory is actually not pre-defined. Here, the leader acts as per the situation. They take things as they come and focus on making short-term plans rather than deciding the entire process. It is vital when the inputs or the requirements from the client keep changing rapidly, and preplanning proves to be a waste of time and effort.

    4. Transformational Theory

    The work approach of a leader following the transformational theory is to keep his team motivated and inspired to deliver their best. They work to portray the similar behavior that they expect from their team and ensure that the results are always exceptionally great. These leaders also focus on the personal issues of their team members. They work on every aspect that can hinder the success of their project.

    5. Adaptive Theory

    The leaders who follow adaptive theory are the ones who channel their team to keep moving even in challenging situations. They may not have the immediate solution to any problem, but their idea is to adapt to the new challenge and sail through it. Their goal is to move gradually and find a solution during the process rather than wasting time finding the apt way and then working on it.

    There are other options that project management leaders can opt for while working on a task. But, again, there is no right or wrong in this; what theory an expert use depends on his work ethic and understanding of the situation. 

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    Leadership Skills in Project Management

    Nobody becomes a leader for no reason! No company would want to hand over the project supervision to a professional who does not have essential skills or a verified profile to work in this domain. However, there are project team leadership skills that every professional working in this domain should possess. These skills secure their future in the industry and save the reputation of the company where they work. Let us list these skills for better clarity.

    • Communication 
    • Soft Skills 
    • Team Management 
    • Task Management 
    • Financial Management 
    • Negotiation 

    These are the fundamental project leadership skills needed by a professional need in order to manage every project well. Hence, the specialist courses these people take to train them in these skills and teach them the right way to tackle all potential situations during project management.

    How can I Improve My Leadership Skills as a Project Manager? 

    A few people believe that soft skills like communication, confidence and better presentation are inbuilt in a human. They believe these skills are present in a human since birth and that there is no way one can develop them. However, the truth is entirely different. One can work hard and develop these skills to start working as a project manager. 

    You can join specialist certification programs like PRINCE2 training to get a better idea and formal training of project management tasks. These programs will increase your familiarity with the project team leader's roles and responsibilities and help develop the required skills. Other than this, you can try changing your attitude towards work and start taking the initiative to be an active participant in office projects. It will help you gain confidence, making you believe that you can handle any task and prove your worth in your team.

    It is also significant that you develop an understanding of behavioral patterns in people to be able to manage a team working under you. Hence, focus on improving your social skills and learning to deal with people in different situations and scenarios. Once you know such things, the necessary skills will develop.

    Benefits that Leadership can Bring to Project Management

    Leadership is not only a job role or a responsibility that a person in authority has to fulfill. It is an art or a task that one should do with utmost attention and perfection. Once a leader performs every role well, the work efficiency improves, and it starts to reflect in the company revenue. Some of the benefits that leadership brings to project management are listed below. 

    1. Increased Work Productivity

    An increase in worker productivity is the most significant benefit of leadership. A leader ensures that every team member works to his full potential and gets all the required resources to give expected results. Moreover, the role of leadership in project management is to keep supervising every step, ensuring everything is moving toward successful product delivery.

    2. Motivated workforce

    A project can only turn successful when the workforce is motivated and proactive. There are professional and personal challenges in everyone's life, and these issues can affect their work. A good leader tries to keep his team motivated and focused on work so that nothing affects the work progress.

    3. Timely Project Deliveries

    Another benefit of leadership is timely project deliveries. The results are outstanding when you keep the team motivated and plan effective strategies to direct the work's progress. Business owners can rest assured that their projects will get delivered on time and that there is nothing that can earn a poor reputation for the business.

    4. Company Reputation

    With a motivated and skilled workforce, an excellent team of leaders, and timely project deliveries, a company would earn a good market reputation. Moreover, you can set a benchmark in quality services, which will eventually help fetch more business and better revenue. Hence, it is fair to say that skilled leaders and excellent project management can help your company excel.

    These are the key advantages that effective leadership offers to every business. Hence, any organization hiring or choosing people for leadership positions should make this decision carefully. Ensure that they possess the necessary skills to see fruitful changes in your business.


    In the end, it is fair to say that a leader is the essential element of any project or organization. The companies hiring them should focus on looking for the right skill set and prefer hiring people with certifications in the domain. At the same time, if you are a professional looking forward to building a career as a project management leader, it would be a wise decision you will ever make. Enroll yourself in fruitful courses and work on your interpersonal skills to grab the best jobs in the market. Keep working hard while working on the project, and once you gain a proven level of expertise, you will be an asset that a company would never want to lose.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. What are the five most significant roles of leadership in project management?

    A leader must meet the following five roles to prove himself as a skilled professional. 

    • Take the detailed requirements from the client in the most unambiguous form. 
    • Plan the project's strategy, considering the final outcome's expectations. 
    • Assign adequate and apt resources to every team member to ensure successful project delivery. 
    • Keep the team motivated to perform the tasks with complete devotion. 
    • Verify that everything happens according to the expectations and make changes if there are any flaws.

    2. How leadership can affect project success?

    Leadership ensures motivated teams, proper resource allocation, and constant monitoring of tasks. All this help ensure quality work and timely delivery that ensures project success.

    3. What is the best leadership style for project management?

    There are multiple models or styles that leaders follow. Each model has its own share of advantages, and which one would prove the best depends on the project type or the leader.

    4. What leadership skills would you need as a project manager?

    As a project manager, you need to work on your communication skills, have a better knowledge of human behaviors, and be proactive to be a good leader.


    Kevin D.Davis

    Blog Author

    Kevin D. Davis is a seasoned and results-driven Program/Project Management Professional with a Master's Certificate in Advanced Project Management. With expertise in leading multi-million dollar projects, strategic planning, and sales operations, Kevin excels in maximizing solutions and building business cases. He possesses a deep understanding of methodologies such as PMBOK, Lean Six Sigma, and TQM to achieve business/technology alignment. With over 100 instructional training sessions and extensive experience as a PMP Exam Prep Instructor at KnowledgeHut, Kevin has a proven track record in project management training and consulting. His expertise has helped in driving successful project outcomes and fostering organizational growth.

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