Resource Index > People Management > Leadership

Leadership

Leadership is the art of getting people to follow a vision. While it may be difficult to articulate the essence of good leadership, we usually know it when we see it in action. The articles and resources collected here are intended to help you cultivate leadership skills (in yourself or others) and be a strong project leader, regardless of your formal role on the team.

How can we help you with project leadership skills?

Examples of Leadership in Action
You know it when you see it. What does project leadership look like in action? Sometimes, that's the best way to identify an otherwise slippery target for personal development. These case studies, articles, and guidelines explore various facets of project leadership roles by relaying real world examples of leadership in action.

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  • Speaking Truth to Power
    This case study by Randall Englund details how one project manager managed the impossible by creating a compelling picture of the urgent issues, a definite plan to address them, and a clear vision of the final results.
For Subscribers
These resources are for Premium subscribers. Subscribe to get access, or find out more about our free trial for new subscribers.
  • Project Manager/Team Leader Roles & Responsibilities
    This exploration of the project leadership role goes beyond the standard "planning, tracking, communicating" list of Project Manager job duties to clarify the mindset and responsibility necessary for success. It also includes thoughts from executives about what they value in their strongest project managers, to help bring the job alive.
  • Leadership and the Project Lifecycle
    A table showing the evolution of leadership responsibilities during the different phases of a project.
  • Project Sponsor Role & Responsibilities
    A list of characteristics and responsibilities of the Project Sponsor. The Project Sponsor champions executive approval for the project.
Other Options
  • Leadership from Every Seat at the Project Table
    A mini-course by Mike Aucoin, $24.95, 1 PDU
    This course by Mike Aucoin, author of Right-Brain Project Management, discusses how each team member can exercise personal ownership and initiative throughout the project to avoid or solve typical project problems.
Guidelines and Suggestions for Developing Leadership Skills
These guidelines and papers provide practical and actionable suggestions for developing leadership skills -- your own, or the skills of team members you're coaching.

For Guests
These resources are available to everyone, no login required.
  • Principles of Project Leadership
    Principles serve as guideposts or beacons that help you stay on course with your project. This column by Paula Martin reviews six principles of project leadership.
  • Project Manager Authority: Look Under NON-Fiction
    Two simple strategies for more effective leadership, even if you don't think you have any authority at all.
  • Fearless Project Leadership
    As the project leader, PMs absolutely MUST tell execs how it really is. Kimberly Wiefling outlines how to do it, fearlessly.
  • Readiness--A Framework for Leadership
    When leaders understand readiness (ability and willingness) it is easier to apply a positive and productive approach that fits the situation.
  • Procrastination - A Critical Leadership Tool
    Often, when there is some project, personnel, or technical crisis, our being in a leadership position compels us to think that we must act. We must do something. We must solve the issue, provide the answer, or somehow take charge.

    For more suggestions on developing project leadership skills and techniques, see the leadership posts on the Project Practitioners blog.
For Members
These resources are free to registered members. Register or login for access.
  • How Do I Develop Myself as a Leader?
    This paper attempts to distill some of the excellent (and lengthy) resources on the subject of leadership, to create a working definition of leadership and its characteristics, along with guidance for developing leadership skills.
  • Leading With Power
    Organizations by their very nature are political so effective project managers identify their sources of power and become politically sensitive. This paper covers the elements of a political plan and shares an approach, examples, and insights that turn potential victim scenarios into win-win political victories.
  • The Business-Savvy Project Manager's Leadership Role
    An overview of the role, mindset, and responsibilities of "business-savvy" project managers -- PMs who lead their teams relentlessly toward the business results a project is meant to achieve. Provides guidance for developing new skills and mindsets in order to expand career options.
For Subscribers
These resources are for Premium subscribers. Subscribe to get access, or find out more about our free trial for new subscribers.
  • 5-Step Tactical Influence Plan
    Tons of project responsibility but no direct authority? It's nothing new - but it sure can get old. Instead of feeling frustrated and stuck, take charge in a different way - by using a simple 5-step process to think through how to influence one or more people in each challenging situation.
  • Speaking Up: How to Make Your Case
    Speaking up is a key leadership skill, whether or not you're officially the team leader. This guideline can help you make your case more effectively when you see ways your team could improve the project or work together better.
  • Role Comparison Checklist: Executive Sponsor and Project Owner
    These checklists compare the roles of the Project Manager and the Executive Sponsor in a variety of critical areas such as goals definition, planning, communication, scope changes, stakeholder management, and more.

    Burning Questions related to Project Leadership
Other Options
Browse the leadership books in our book list.
  • Which Project Leadership Hat Should I Wear This Week?
    A mini-course by Mike Aucoin, $24.95, 1 PDU
    Responsive, effective project managers need to understand how to adapt to those changing circumstances, and how to be a strong, people-aware, results-focused leader at every stage of every project.
  • Speaking Up! Influence Skills for Getting What You Need
    A mini-course by DeAnna Burghart, $24.95, 1 PDU
    This short course and related guideline will bolster your confidence and help you develop the most best case possible in any venue, by learning what motivates people to help and how to build an effective and succinct case.
  • It's So NOT About Authority: Critical Influence Skills for PMs
    A webinar recorded by Cinda Voegtli, $39.95, 1.5 PDU
    In this 90-minute session, ProjectConnections founder Cinda Voegtli explains how to identify your current influence shortfalls and do something about them fast. You don't need a title to make a difference!
Typical Leadership Issues and Answers to Common Questions
It can be frustrating to try leading a project when the team doesn't seem to care, and the executives don't seem to listen. Almost as bad is watching an unprepared project manager struggle and wondering if you set them up for failure. These resources will help you address challenging project leadership situations, select appropriate project leaders, and handle personal skill development.

For Guests
These resources are available to everyone, no login required.
For Members
These resources are free to registered members. Register or login for access.
  • Getting Relevant to Get Results
    Project management tools and talk can leave technical contributors bored, resistant, or outright rebellious. Are project managers and technical team members hopelessly far apart? Or do we just have a language and perspective problem? Experience from the field says it's the latter.
For Subscribers
These resources are for Premium subscribers. Subscribe to get access, or find out more about our free trial for new subscribers.
  • Project Manager/Team Leader Selection
    A worksheet to help a project sponsor select a project manager by scoring candidates on a number of selection criteria, including critical "soft skills" and domain knowledge specific to the project.
  • Performance Appraisal Process Summary and Forms for Project Leaders and Team Members
    Process and forms for promoting recognition of project performance as part of someone's normal yearly performance appraisal. This template addresses both individual team members and project leaders.
Other Options
Browse the leadership books in our book list.
  • Delegation Skills for Team Leads and Managers
    A webinar recorded by Laura Erkeneff - $39.95 - 1.5 PDUs
    Too many managers end up doing work that should be on someone else's desk. When you're facing intense resource constraints, it's tempting to pitch in and "just get the work done." But if you're working as a project contributor, you can't be an effective project manager.



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