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Leadership in Project Management

Introduction to
Leadership in Project
 A number of studies have purposed to study
the role of leadership in project management
 Strategic leadership in project management is
considered imperative in project success
 Project outcome is influenced more by human
factors than technical factors
 Despite extensive research, project managers
still face challenges in leadership

 This paper will analyze and synthesize some of
the prior research methods and the roles of
leadership in this process.
 The subject of project management has received a significant level of attention, with several
researches having been performed to study the concept of leadership in relation to project
management. This is because project leadership plays an important role in influencing project
success (Barnwell, et al, 2014). In this relation, there is increased focus on human resources
as a major contributor to project success, with a number of studies indicating that human
factors may to a great extent be more important than technical factors in the management of
projects. It is however notable that project managers still struggle with project leadership
(Packendorff, 2014). Possible challenges include leadership style, teamwork, uncertainty,
stress, learning and motivation. Therefore, this research aims at making an analysis and
synthesis of prior research and the role of leadership in project management.
Project Management Overview
 Projects comprise of two characteristics: beginning and the end
 Each project is accomplished through unique time-bound tasks to ensure success
 Project management portfolio and resource management is a catalyst for revenue growth
 Project value addition is important in ensuring customer needs are satisfied
 Effective leadership is essential and project leaders must possess skills in resource and
portfolio management
Projects are characterized by two essential components: the beginning and the end
(Packendorff, Crevani, & Lindgren, 2014). These result in the development of unique products
within the project period. It is however notable that all projects are comprised of unique
tasks that must be completed within allocated time periods in order to make the project
successful. In order to promote revenue growth within the organization, effective project
management portfolio and resource development is necessary. Accordingly, optimizing the
project management processes is known to improve value over the project’s life cycle, thus
enhancing customer satisfaction. The need for effective leadership skills in resource and
portfolio management is therefore imperative for project success.
Analysis of Literature

 Project management is a strategized approach
to accomplishing specific tasks within the
project life cycle
 To achieve project objectives, knowledge,
methods, processes, skills and experiences
must be consolidated
 A project can only be considered successful if
it meets its objectives within the given budget
and time allocation
 Project management involves a number of
processes that enhance success. Phase
management involves understanding project
 The planning process involves establishing
that all necessary resources, tools and
methodologies are available to execute the

According to Gonzalez, project management is a well strategized approach aimed at
accomplishing specified tasks within the organization.
Doh, & Quigley (2014) postulates that project management involves the achievement of
project objectives through combining knowledge, methods, processes, skills and

experiences. In order for a project to be considered successful, it must achieve its objectives
within the postulated budget and time allocation.
Phillips et al (2016) discuss two processes in project management, which are considered
essential in enhancing the project management process. These processes include the phase
management and the planning. In the first process, leaders must understand the project’s
deliverables and conditions necessary to ensure that the project meets its objectives. In the
second phase, leaders ensure that necessary resources, supporting tools, human resource
capacity and methodologies are sufficient to deliver project outcomes within the given time.
 The control process ensures that the project
aspects including scope, costs, risks, issues,
and benefits are controlled
 The communication process ensures that
adequate information on project processes
and requirements is disseminated
 The procurement process ensures that
purchases related to the project are well
 The integration phase involves consolidating
the project with organizational functions
 Projects undergo evaluation to determine
whether they have achieved their objectives
 Głodziński, & Marciniak (2016) introduce the control process, which requires leaders to
adopt effective control measures to deal with scope, costs, risks, issues, and benefits within
the project’s lifecycle. This involves coming up with reports detailing information on the
overall picture of the project lifecycle processes, such as through the use of a project
dashboard. Głodziński, & Marciniak (2016) bring up the issue of communication, noting that

it plays an imperative role in ensuring that team members and stakeholders have adequate
 Lewis et al (2014) discusses the procurement phase. It is established that in order to
effectively manage the purchasing process, inclusion of IT systems provided by third parties
is necessary. The project manager at this juncture is responsible for managing the third
 The integration phase impacts the project process significantly because it involves
consolidation with other functions of the organization.
 Lastly, the project must go through an evaluation process necessary for establishing whether
it has achieved its objectives
. Evaluation of the Main
 Portfolio well-being is dependent on project performance
 Appropriate project management and efficient management techniques can help determine
projects that align effectively with the organization
 Leaders must make priorities in the to ensure optimal use of available resources
 Effective project methodology use enhances customer satisfaction, reduces risk and
promotes project success
 Project management encompasses a holistic approach in which portfolio well-being depends
on the project’s performance. This is influenced by availability of resources, project leader
roles in terms of decision making and other challenges in the project management process
(Galvin et al, 2014). In order to determine projects that align effectively with the
organization’s goals, it is essential for the organization to combine appropriate project
management methodologies and efficient management techniques. This ensures that the
project managers can effectively utilize available resources through prioritization, to
enhance portfolio health. Through affectual use of project management methodologies,
project leaders can promote customer satisfaction based on the project achievements. This
would also reduce risks significantly and thereby promote chances of project success.
Role of Questioning
Practices in Neutralizing
Resistance to Change

 The change management process may be affected by various approaches including
 Change may either be incremental, strategic or transformational
 Resistance to change is a common phenomenon and change may be received either
positively or negatively
 Questioning is effective in neutralizing resistance to change associated with project
 Application of various leadership approaches helps leaders to motivate their team towards
embracing change
The project management process is influenced by various factors affecting implementation, such as
the inclusion of technology (Barnwell et.al, 2014). This encompasses changes inhibiting the project
management process.
Change may be demonstrated as follows:
• Incremental change which refers to change that results in small improvements and is usually
small in scope
• Strategic change which results in restructured effort and which is large in scope
• Transformational change, which could easily move an organization to its future state.
Resistance to change often accompanies the project management and leaders must work towards
helping team members accept the change process. Through effective leadership, it is possible to
motivate and engage team members to embrace change and work towards achieving the project
objectives (Barnwell et.al, 2014).
Importance of Winning
Principles in Leadership

 Effective management of project constraints
such as time, costs and performance
expectations increases chances of project

 Strategic leadership approaches and skills
ensure that constrains are effectively
 Application of appropriate leadership skills and
attributes help in providing direction in projects
 Through a motivational approach, winning
principles in leadership are essential for team
 Winning principles enhance communication in
teams, enabling project success
 Reviewed literature indicates that project success depends on the
presence of an effective approach to manage constrains. These
include constraints of time, costs and performance expectations,
which must be managed to promote project success. In order to
effectively manage these constraints, Dick et al (2015) puts forth
that the project leader must effectively demonstrate appropriate
strategic leadership approaches and skills including: as
proficiency, balance, sound decision making, persistence,
vision, trust, integrity, and sincerity. These help the leader to
effectively direct the project to promote success. Winning
leadership principles effectively motivate team members to
achieve project outcomes and boost appropriate communication
approaches that enhance smooth project operations.

Strategic Leadership in
Encouraging Innovation

 Strategic leadership is integral in project management, based on
its role in encouraging innovation
 Leaders play a vital role in building organizational capabilities
and competencies to enhance sustained competitiveness
 Human resources are considered important assets in project
 Efforts directed at improving human resource health in projects
hence receive major priority

In project management, strategic leadership is considered instrumental in enhancing
performance success through encouraging innovation (Dick, et.al.2015). Various literature
indicates that leadership is an integral part of project management. Based on their ability to
inspire innovation, strategic leaders play an imperative role in ensuring that organizations
can thrive in the midst of increasing competition and heightened market demand in the
contemporary world (Dick, et.al.2015). In doing so, strategic leaders consider human capital
as a key component in creating organizational competencies, and hence work towards
strengthening and sustaining this component. Through encouraging innovation, the human
resource capacity is improved and project success is assured.
 Project management is critical in organizational success
 Leaders play a major role in promoting positive outcomes in project management
 Effective project management methodologies enhance project success

 Effective leadership approaches and skills can influence effective adoption of change

Barnwell, D. et al (2014). Leadership of International and Virtual Project Teams. International Journal
Of Global Business, 7(2), 1-8

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