The Six Deadly Sins of Project Management Leadership

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Sin 6: You fail to promote – and keep the right people informed about – your project.

Your project is being done for a reason. It’s important. Otherwise, why would the organization devote its limited resources on it? But, not everyone will agree it’s as important as you and your sponsors see it. Some may try to raid your team, put your project needs at the bottom of the priority list for resources, or complain you’re not making sufficient progress. In other words, they’ll do everything they can to promote their work over yours to get in the front of the line. If they do this enough, the executives will start to wonder about the value of the project and simply kill it by starving you of resources.

Antidote: Create an overview presentation of your project. Offer to give it to anyone and everyone who will listen. Make sure your team members can present it too. Communicate the good works of your team regularly, formally and informally. Make sure everyone knows you’ve got the best team in the company. Your project is a product that needs to be continually “sold” to the execs. By doing so, you are ensuring a great future for your team members as leaders too.

Gone are the days of top-down structures. In today’s “flatter” and more cross-functional world, leadership is needed everywhere. Organizations require that everyone, including their project managers, take up the baton. For too long, project managers were viewed by others, and themselves, more as mechanics assigned to “fix” a problem, rather than a critical leadership resource responsible for implementing the organization’s strategy.

The successful twenty-first century project manager (PM) must exhibit a wide range of leadership skills to guide cross-functional teams in the pursuit of delivering value and excellence through projects, programs, and other major initiatives. Beware of the following six sins of project management leadership, identified by J. LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP, executive vice president, ESI International, as any one of them will undermine your ability to function at the highest levels of performance.


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