Project leadership, most simply, is the act of leading a team towards the successful completion of a project. But of course, it is much more than that. It’s about getting something done well through others. Or, as Jennifer Bridges, PMP, pointed out in her recent video: it’s about “placing more emphasis on people” as opposed to the tactical management of tasks.
In fact, project leadership requires skills in both management and leadership. It is a soft skill; part art, part science.
Leadership is a topic everyone is obsessed about and, as this New Yorker article notes, a major growth industry. But is there a legitimate way to teach leadership or is it an innate talent? That’s up for debate. One thing for certain is that successful leadership can be tracked, studied, and replicated.
Different Leadership Styles
Look over the management style of anyone in charge of any project, and you’’ll find a myriad ways in which they accomplish their goals and set a tone of leadership. Much of these differences are based on the person’s personality and what style of leadership they natural gravitate towards.
That’s where Susanne Madsen’s project leadership matrix comes in handy. It is a tool that tells you what type of leader you are, and with that knowledge you can tweak your technique to become a better leader. The leadership matrix is made up of four parts:
- Reactive people-leadership
- Reactive task management
- Proactive people-leadership
- Proactive task management
It’s unlikely that you sit only in one quadrant, since most of us are a sampling of all of these parts. However, the best project managers are those who emphasis a proactive leadership style.