Project Management

How to Unleash Your Presence as a Leader

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By Peter Tarhanidis, MBA, Ph.D. 

In project management, your presence as a leader is vital to your success. But how do you begin to refine this skill set? Start by considering what kind of presence you convey, and how that presence impacts your influence with teams.

Underlying a leader’s presence are sets of behaviors and actions directed toward team members in various situations. A leader must distinguish between the two prevailing behavioral approaches. In the task approach, leaders accomplish their goals by setting structures, organizing work, and defining roles and responsibilities. The relationship approach, on the other hand, employs behaviors to help teams feel at ease within a variety of situations.

In other words: Is the leader driven to treat team members as valued individuals and attend to their needs, or do they see team members as a means to achieving a goal? This approach will affect a leader and their team’s performance.

Project managers are constantly combining these two approaches to influence teams and attain a goal. Clearly, there are certain behaviors that emerge in one’s presence which increase one’s influence over teams. Examples include humility, honesty, confidence, composure and emotional intelligence. But the truth is, influencing teams takes a great deal of time and energy. There is only a certain amount of time and energy one dedicates in every moment. For many project managers this creates a challenge: What can a leader do to be present in every moment?

The opportunity does exist for leaders to train themselves to be present. By applying a certain regimen of actions, a leader can apply a thoughtful approach to increasing their presence. Dedicating yourself to increasing your energy and presence will result in positively influencing teams. Below is a list of four actions to help unleash one’s performance through increased energy, focus and presence:

  1. Define your purpose to engage your passion and goals. Write down an easy and memorable statement that you can use as your personal branding message.
  2. Identify the key relationships that require your energy and balance their needs.
  3. Stay physically and emotionally healthy, which will increase your energy levels.
  4. Take time daily to meditate to recognize your feelings and the consequences of the decisions you need to make to attain your goals.

Let me know how you unleash your performance. Please share your top behavior picks, why they define your presence, and how you successfully increased your influence with teams!

Posted by Peter Tarhanidis on: February 06, 2019 10:54 PM | Permalink

Comments (13)

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Nice article, many true leaders with born capability of leadership they don't ave to unleash they will be seen as clear as sun light.

It means you should have a plan and target

Interesting article Peter. Thanks for sharing good suggestions!!

Hi Riyadh, Tamer and Alok

Thank you for your comments!

I agree many individuals and leaders have traits that strongly identify as natural leaders. However, it is important to recognize the behaviors and leadership styles, i.e. Autocratic vs. Democratic vs. Laissez-faire styles, an individual applies to influence colleagues on a common purpose and setting goals. Consider there are various management situations that may require different leadership styles. Those who can adapt their styles to work with their colleagues will be most successful.

Best of luck!!


Great insights. Thanks!

Good tips.

The leadership approach needs to be tailored to the type of team you are working with. Immature teams require more work than mature teams.

There is a big mistake in thinking that when performing project management you have to be a leader. You have to be a manager, no a leader. The key is to find the leader into the team.

Hi Andrew, Drake, and Sergio,

Thank you for your feedback and comments.

I am attaching the link for PMI's Talent Triangle that indicates the three focus areas: Technical Project Management, Strategic and Business Mgmt, and Leadership -

These are the evolving demands of the profession on the talent needs and PMI indicates there is research that the talent triangle addresses these emerging needs.

I hope that sets some context.

Again thank you!



Interesting post. Thanks for sharing

@Peter: if you follow everything PMI said then you are lost. I do not need context, I know what the PMI stated but unfortunately PMI most of the time are moving for making business instead to real help to make project/program/portfolio management better. Is not a concern, I am working with the PMI from years but it is clear inside lot of publications. For example, when related to Agile.

@ Sergio: If I gather your point correctly, you seem to have an issue with PMI having lost some sense of improving PPM or Agile and is focused on the business need.

However, you direct your frustration at me and my article. As an involved PM leader yourself, perhaps you should consider finding the appropriate PMI channel to provide your feedback that would benefit from having your voice heard.

BTW the context is to benefit all readers. Your post and thoughts provided an opportunity for me to share the link so readers would understand this article aligns with talent management.

Best Regards,


First of all i do not have any frustation at all. Please review the meaning of frustration. Second, I disagree with your article about the need of leadership. I mean, if you sustain that a project manager must be a leader then from my point of view you are totally wrong and I can demonstrate that. Regards.

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