Project Management

Project Manager vs. Project Leader

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I’m assuming that everyone understands what project management is. Most people reading this will have studied the PMBoK, learned various methodologies, read the books, etc. You understand that project management is the application of skills, tools, techniques and knowledge to project activities in order to complete the project objectives. I’m paraphrasing the PMBoK, but everyone’s definition is similar.
Well you are all wrong!
Okay, that was a little melodramatic, but I can’t accept that definition--project management to me is more than that. PMs have a responsibility to manage their teams--even in a matrix organization--and that means being a leader. Stop thinking about a project manager, and start considering the concept of a project leader. Let me explain what I mean.
Project Leadership vs. Project Management
Project managers are automatically in some form of a leadership position--they are controlling the project activities for their initiatives. In many cases they may not control the resources, but this doesn’t stop them from being leaders.
Don’t confuse leadership with authority--they aren’t the same. I expect an effective leader to be able to inspire and motivate their teams, to develop their resources to be more effective contributors, to understand how their work fits in to the bigger …

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