Traits of a Leader

The Plethora & Conundrums in Project Management

ernest madara asked:


A project is any undertaking that comprises a series of activities that ought to be completed within a considerable period of time, within the specified budget, to the expectation of all the relevant stakeholders. In a project there would are distinct roles i.e. sponsor, project board, project team, clients, project manager, quality assurance manager, risk manager etc. Different projects would therefore require a specific constitution of roles. Whenever a new project is initiated, it is imperative that we understand the client’s mindset – do they want it cheap, quick or right? All these questions are in tandem with the project envelope (time, cost, quality). The intricacies of projects, are how well we can be able to balance the three parameters, which are always in conflict with each other. In an effort to take care of one issue i.e. a project getting late, the remedial action would be to bring in more resources, which are likely to escalate the budget and at the same time dilute the quality of the project. Project management is therefore an art and the same time a science in balancing these parameters over the timeline of a project, taking into account that change is not static but dynamic. The technology of the day is changing, clients demand are changing – we cannot use yesterday needs to predict the clients expectations amidst the multifaceted risks that the same projects face.

Soft Issues in Project Management

Other than the hard issues that are well documented, outcomes or deliverables are well understood, there are soft issues that have to be understood, more often they are normally very complicated. They are growing needs for project managers to think hard about soft issues- human related issues in project management.

1. How well do you understand the organization culture, and politics?

2. What are the soft skills that the team has?

3. Are the acclaimed experiences commensurate to the impending project?

4. What is the backgrounds of the various teams members?

5. What is the attitude, motivational level of the team member?

6. How are you prepared in dealing with conflicts?

7. What are the career aspirations of the team or yourself?

8. How do you estimate projects in environments where no previous records exist?

9. What are the preferences of your stakeholders?

10. Is there goodwill with your sponsor?

11. Ho well do you deal with the unexpected?

12. How do you manage change?

13. How do you predict the future of your project?

14. How do make the strenuous project activities activities enjoyable?

15. At what speed should the project activities move?

16. How do you augment the team for synergy?

17. How do you recognize team members, without jeopardizing the entire team?

18. How webbed is your network of sub-contractors?

19. To what level do you blend the skills, methodologies in accomplishing a task

20. How do you identify the Hawthorne effect in your project?

21. What time would it take your team to form, storm, and norm before it can perform?

22. how do you build and strengthen teams?

23. What are the traits, beliefs and values of the teams?

24. How do you empower the team players


Addressing the hard issues in project management is fairly simple since there tools and techniques such as Ms project, Prima Vera, Gantt chants, PERT, CPA, resource histograms, earned value analysis et al. It is leaders and not managers that will comfortably provide a solution to these myriad questions. Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing. – Warren Bennis..

Success in project management and generally for CEOs in the 21st century, will highly be characterized by the leadership skills that they posses. CEOs will have to be Project Managers with the following traits.

Honesty – Displaying sincerity, integrity, and candor in all their actions.

Competent – Their actions should be based on reason and moral principles

Forward-looking Setting goals and having a vision of the future. The vision must be owned throughout the organization. They will envision what they want and how to get it. They will habitually pick priorities stemming from their basic values.

Inspiring – Displaying confidence in all that they do. By showing endurance in mental, physical, and spiritual stamina, they will inspire others to reach for new heights. Taking charge when necessary.

Intelligent – Read, study, and seek challenging assignments.

Fair-minded – Show fair treatment to all people. Display empathy by being sensitive to the feelings, values, interests, and well being of others.

Broad-minded – Seek out diversity.

Courageous – Have the perseverance to accomplish a goal, regardless of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Display a confident calmness when under stress.

Straightforward – Use sound judgment to make good decisions at the right time.

Imaginative – Make timely and appropriate changes in their thinking, plans, and methods. Show creativity by thinking of new and better goals, ideas, and solutions to problems.


The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we”; they think, “Team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit…. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.- Peter Drucker

A great many of the issues that epitomize success in projects revolve around the human factors more than anything else. What is needed is Project Leadership



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