Project Management

Project Leadership -- How to Transform from Project Manager to Project Leader: Q&A

Susanne Madsen is an internationally recognized project leadership coach, trainer and consultant. She is the author of The Project Management Coaching Workbook (2012) and The Power of Project Leadership (2015).

Our webinar Project Leadership – How to Transform from Project Manager to Project Leader with Susanne Madsen was so popular, she offers advice based on your questions from the session.

1. Do project managers have actual authority? As far as I know, their lack of authority is one of the PM top karmas (Slide 5).
You are right that many project managers don’t have actual authority. That is why we need PMs to take on more of a leadership and influencing mindset. It is when we build relationships, understand human behavior and what drives the individual that we can begin to influence without authority.

2. Could you also add to the Management side ensuring compliance and governance policies are adhered to minimize organizational risk?
Yes. I’d put that under the management label.

3. How can a project manager, who needs to have a focus on events/processes, incorporate leadership characteristics and still ensure the details are taken care of?
One of the ways to ensure that detailed tasks get completed without being “in” the detail is to discuss and agree “what” needs to get done rather than “how” it gets done.

Let’s for instance say that you want your team member to produce a report. You don’t want to tell them how to do it and oversee every step, as that’s de-motivating and not the best …

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"[Musicians] talk of nothing but money and jobs. Give me businessmen every time. They really are interested in music and art."

- Jean Sibelius, explaining why he rarely invited musicians to his home.