A Project Leadership Or Project Management – Becoming Effective Project Leader – Part II

We grappled to answers the question – Who drives higher project success – project manager or leader? :- critical success factors for a project, challenges involved in project delivery, how leadership can connect the dots. Let’s look at – what it takes to be a effective project leader

Leadership Vs Management?

Let’s put these things in right perspective. Management and Leadership are two different aspect. Each one of them requires different skills. Though these skills are not entirely mutually exclusive but typically we find that an individual is either possesses skills for (or inclined towards) management or those appropriate for leadership. Essentially – project leadership is about having clear idea (and vision) about where to go and project management is about actually traveling the path (and getting things done).

Ab Lincoln The Great Leader

Ab Lincoln The Great Leader

To understand leadership traits better, let’s look at how researchers have profiled leadership qualities or competencies. A competence is skills, knowledge and personality traits that helps an individual to demonstrate excellent performance and deliver superior result. There are many competence to describe personality trait (emotional intelligence), knowledge & skills (management skills, problem solving capabilities and intelligence). For superior result, it has been observed that different competencies are more suitable and can be utilized effectively in different situation.

Leadership Style

Researchers – Dulewicz, Higgs have observed and concluded that there are three leadership styles

  • Goal Oriented
  • Engaging
  • Involving

There is no a one best leadership style that can be chosen from these three styles. In fact, as mentioned above different leadership style is appropriate in different situations.

Types of Cognitive Competence

And three types of cognitive competence can describe/explain the managerial performance such as

  • Emotional Quotient (EQ) – Describing awareness and tackling of emotional aspects
  • Intellectual Quotient (IQ) – Describing intelligence and problem solving skills
  • Managerial Quotient (MQ) – Skills and knowledge management

And leadership competencies and leadership profiles as researched by Victor Dulewicz, Malcolm Higgs, (2005) in their research article Assessing leadership styles and organisational context[5]

Competence Group

Competence

Goal

Engagement

Involvement

Emotional (EQ)

Self-awareness

Medium

High

High

Intuitiveness

Medium

High

Medium

Motivation

High

High

High

Sensitivity

Medium

High

Medium

Influence

Medium

High

High

Emotional Resilience

High

High

High

Conscientiousness

High

High

High

Intellectual (IQ)

Critical analysis & judgment

High

Medium

Medium

Strategic Perspective

High

Medium

Medium

Vision & Imagination

High

Medium

Medium

Managerial (MQ)

Managing & Controlling Resources

High

Low

Medium

Achieving

High

Medium

Medium

Empowering

Low

High

Medium

Engaging Communication

Medium

High

Medium

Developing

Medium

High

Medium

Dulewicz, Higgs’ research identified that emotional skills (EQ) describes 36% of leadership performance, managerial competence (MQ) accounts for 16% whereas intellectual competence (IQ) contributes 27% of leadership performance[6].

The Reality of Project Leadership

Many experts & advocates of leadership say that good managers cannot be leaders and vice versa. There are ample number of researches out there which “attempts” to describe the similarity and differences between leadership and management.

What is the reality of project leadership?

Today organizations have designated as well as certified project managers working for them, in fact the proportion of certified project managers is significantly higher than that was a decade go; yet it does not ensure project success. As mentioned earlier, to improve project success rate project leadership is needed.

  • So do you have project leaders in your organization?
  • Can you identify project leaders from your pool of project managers? Or
  • Do you have to specifically hire project leaders?
  • If so how would you do that?

We do know that project leadership is essentially about building, leader a coherent team from set of diverse individuals and drive them to deliver real, superior and quantifiable project results. In large organizations, senior management can step in and play project leadership role. Since senior management is supposed to drive an organization along its vision, inspire its employees and empower them to deliver results; they can assume the role of project leadership. The question is, are they willing and do they have bandwidth to do so?

In other case, senior management would identify project managers in their organization who think and work to align with company’s vision, who can set vision for projects (not just goals and objectives for projects). Identify such project leaders who can define ‘What is project success?’, who can set measurable elements to measure project success, who can navigate through organization, customer and vendor network to inspire, negotiate, persuade, convince and lead team despite of adversities and difficulties.

Being an Effective Project Leader

In my personal view project managers can become project leaders, if project managers exhibit following skills:

  • Influencing others
  • Political Awareness & Navigation
  • Marching courageously

 

In next post we will see, details of above points.

References:

[5] http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1463694&show=abstract

[6] http://books.google.co.in/books?id=xhWSN0jEMHYC&printsec=frontcover

image reference: http://www.edwindearborn.com

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