The topic of leadership is a lengthy subject, ranging from academic research to published works and articles. The discussion of leadership can be found in Greek and Roman texts, as well as works in the new millennia. In the project management field, however, leadership has been a sleeping giant, which is just emerging as a topic of research and publication.

Project management material in the 20th century consisted of work investigating the mechanics of the process of managing a temporary endeavor. The items of concern were: (1) cost, (2) schedule, and (3) resources. Later work recognized the need to incorporate deliverables, or scope into the project equation. The author finds these items to be the "hard" aspects of managing a project, subject to analysis, with a spreadsheet or other computer software package.

Effective administration of these project factors is not enough to guarantee success. Project managers need to be skilled in "soft" areas, such as change management, emotional intelligence, and leadership. The leader needs to have experience as a project manager, and to recognize how the needs of the project change over the life of the effort.

Leader behaviors will consist of a task or relationship focus. Task focused leaders will keep an eye on the mechanics of the project, and seek to drive their team toward achieving a project that has positive schedule, budget and deliverable outcomes. Relationship leaders seek to achieve team harmony through consensus building, and to communicate with their external stakeholders, such as the project sponsor and executive committee.

The successful leader recognizes how their style-orientation will change over the life of the project. During the early phases of the work, the leader will score high on relationship factors, as the need to sell, tell and motivate others is paramount. In the middle part of the project, the leader will concentrate on task factors, such as monitoring cost, schedule, resource and deliverables. At the final third of the project, the leadership style will oscillate between both that task and relationship leader behaviors, as the need to monitor the project continues in its importance and the added need of obtaining additional assistance during project completion and closeout occurs.

Author's Bio: 

Rodger has over 20 years of experience in Military Aviation, Manufacturing, Medical and Education Sectors. He is experienced in all phases of software development, deployment, maintenance and support. He has international experience on software systems that have been used worldwide. He is a skilled modeler, and is adept at Business Process Reengineering (BPR) techniques.

With over 18 years of experience in program and project management, he has managed diverse teams in multi-million dollar efforts creating mission-critical applications running 24x7. A Program Manager for a Fortune 100 organization, he has also assisted non-profit organizations in developing and implementing strategic plans.

Currently he teaches at a four year institution and consults to industry. He is a Principal Consultant at Contemporary Consultants specializing in Business and Technology Management consulting. He is a PhD student planning to research project success factors for his dissertation.

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This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Team Building. The Official Guide to Team Building is Gina Gardiner.

Gina Gardiner has over thirty years’ experience in developing people, helping them to attain their full potential. She has a proven track record in providing leadership and management skills at all levels, from training newly appointed graduates to supporting middle and senior managers.  Working with individuals is only half the story, as the strength of any organization is built on the way people work as a team.  Creating and building effective teams maximizes interdependence and and underpins ongoing success.  Gina's mission is to help individuals maximize their potential and facilitate effective team building. You can learn more by visiting Graduate Solutions

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