Are you a Project Manager or a Project Leader? Here Are Three Things to Master.

I’ve trained and coached many project managers over the years, as well as teach thousands in their pursuit to achieve their PMP© or CAPM© certification.  One thing I’ve learned is that there are a few things that truly differentiate a project leader from a project manager.  Those that can achieve “leadership” are in high demand and have the ability to truly effect change throughout an organization.

Here are a few things to master if you want to be a leader:

1)     Facilitate meetings:  Facilitating meetings doesn’t mean that you dominate the conversation. 

Make sure you provide a venue for idea sharing that is open and not limiting.

2)     “Go to bat” for your team:  There will be times when things go wrong, or well-intended communications fail; you may need to help calm the waters.  Bringing people together in difficult times is a leadership skill that takes practice and experience to master.

3)     Stand up for best practices in project management:  Not everyone in an organization understands the Project Management standards that you have been trained in.  You may often encounter those who think they know best practices in the project management profession without any training to support it.  Truly understanding the value and benefits of what you do will help to educate others throughout the organization.  The more the organization understands the benefits of project management excellence the less resistance you and your teams will experience.

When you lead your team well, you can experience positive results within your organization.  Some of these benefits are:

1)     Excellence in facilitation, encourages proactive thought and can ensure that known risks do not become issues in your project.

2)     Presenting facts logically, and sequentially, can help others understand a situation without emotion.  Level-headed discussion with facts in writing reduce subjective frustrations.

3)     Tactical concepts can ensure success, however unless other understand their value, resistance can be experienced.  A project leader takes the time to educate others on best practices—not just saying they are best practices, but by demonstrating why they add value.

More about these and other leadership concepts is available in the new ACHIEVE PMP® EXAM SUCCESS, 6TH EDITION. It’s available online at