Skip to content

Three Essential Leadership Behaviors for Project Managers

Deadline, budget, quality and scope. If in the past regularly achieve these goals was considered the main quality of a project manager, in the current and multifaceted world of business, this question is far more complex.

The role of the project manager is no longer that of someone who makes things happen, but to a true leader you need to motivate your team, manage the expectations of all key stakeholders in the project and play a decisive role in the leadership changes that need to be implemented. Thus, the new project manager needs to generate positive deliveries that benefit not only the work in progress, but also the entire organization to which it belongs.

I used to think that a successful project manager must have, at least, these three essential leadership behaviors: (1) Passion for results; (2) Claim the truth and (3) Exhibit courage. Let us talk a little bit about them.

Passion for results: To be a project manager is not as easy as it appears. Considering that only 35% of all IT Projects are delivered as planned, is easy to find out why project managers are professional with high exposure to stress, frustration and other operative tasks that can diminish from the final target. Focusing on the tasks that need to be done and keeping the final objective in mind are easier said than done.

Therefore, to be an effective project manager, you must need to ensure that the results defined by the project will be delivered as expected; in other words, you cannot simply give tasks to others and wait for the status update. Make the right things happen is your job, dude!

Claim the truth: As a project manager. you need to know the real issue or risk affecting the project. Effective project managers need to demand the truth from their teams and then say the truth to their management and stakeholders. Minimizing problems, having a secret agenda and hiding issues and potential risks under a colorful PowerPoint presentation does not help the project team or the Project Manager succeed.

Exhibit courage: As I said above, sometimes is a Project Manager role to report some very bad news to the company’s board and describe any corrective actions needed to improve project performance.

It takes courage to communicate that there are problems with the project and to ask for help. It takes courage to have a conversation with a team member who isn’t performing well or to talk with a peer who isn’t providing the necessary support. It takes courage to make the hard decisions to cancel a project to save funding or to let an employee know they no longer have a position with the project. As project managers, these situations are difficult, but dealing with them is our job. You must be brave to be a Project Manager!

More leadership behaviors

It is difficult to try to categorize all the leadership behaviors a successful project manager needs to exhibit into just three areas. A commitment to customer satisfaction, a focus on quality and excellence, and continuous improvement are secondary behaviors that I would add to the list.

II would like to know your opinion: what leadership behaviors would you add to the list? Please, share your feedback in the comments of this post. Let’s start the conversation!