December 17, 2017


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Mindset of a Successful Project Leader

When comparing the qualities needed to be a successful manager (as shown in the Infographic below) with the characteristics of a successful project leader, and research analysis, there is much overlap.

Good managers tend to be natural leaders with a genuine interest in helping others. Not all project managers are natural leaders, but fortunately that is a skill that can be honed, especially when coupled with the desire to serve others.

Effective leadership is built on respect and trust. Leadership is critical during the beginning phases of a project when emphasis is on communicating the vision and motivating and inspiring the project team to achieve high performance. In a project context leadership is about focusing the efforts of a group of people toward a common goal and enabling them to work as a team. It’s also the ability to get things done through others.

Guidance to the project team is given in the form of influencing, mentoring and monitoring, as well as evaluating the performance of the team and the project. Open communication is essential together with listening to your team’s needs.

It’s always in the best interest of project leaders to keep investing in their own development and growth. For professionals who are new to project management, check out the Growth Program for new Project Managers that will put you on a fast-track for learning how to become a successful project leader.


Inside the Mind of a Successful Manager:

Pepperdine University Online MBA Degree

Book Review: Power of Project Leadership

By Linky van der Merwe

What I liked about the book: The Power of Project Leadership: 7 Keys to Help You Transform from Project Manager to Project Leader” by Susanne Madsen, is the fact that it’s an easy read and it’s applied specifically to project managers. For project managers who are seriously aspiring to become better leaders, the book will help make the transition from project manager to project leader. Looking at project management future trends, more leaders are what organisations need.

Power of Project Leadership

Susanne Madsen

It’s organised into 4 chapters and very practical with exercises, reflective questions, check-lists and calls to action. An excellent break-down of the six human needs is given and you are guided towards an in-depth understanding of your own values and beliefs. The seven keys of Leadership are covered in much detail. It guides you to new insights and helps you to become very clear on your intentions.

There are multiple resources spread through-out the book that will help you to change your mind-set. Susanne has a very engaging writing style, she shares useful tools and perspectives from experienced project managers that inspire.

The book has the potential to take you on a journey of transformation from manager to leader, to being conscious about what you want to achieve. It will help you gain clarity on the impact you would like to have on other people, on projects and on the industry. You are guided to compile your own project leadership vision and to determine your action steps.

The book leaves you with the thought: “unleash your project leadership potential, because the world needs your leadership” and that will inspire you to follow through with your action plan.

I would recommend this book to all fellow project management professionals and PMO leaders.
For more information about the author, the book and many other resources, visit the Power of Project Leadership website.

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How to be a Value Driven Project Leader

FIRE values

Recently I attended a school function where the head master passionately explained the school’s values. It made an impression on me and I wanted to share them with you as I believe they will help you become more value driven as a project leader.


You need to have faith in yourself. That means you need to conduct your business with confidence, creating trust with the client that you’re serving, and trust with team members and stakeholders on projects.

People need to know that they can rely on you. You have a sense of loyalty, you show commitment to what you promised and you work with dedication to achieve your goals.


Good leadership demands commitment to ethical practices. You show integrity and set the standards for ethical behaviour. That means conducting your business with honesty and truthfulness in all circumstances. You take honour in the service that you deliver and you are completely reliable.


You can be held accountable for duties that are your responsibility. People see you as being trustworthy and dependable to take charge and complete the tasks that you set out to perform.


You strive to excel in all you do. Over time it will show in the quality of your work and people will perceive you as being competent and even brilliant in your field of expertise. That distinction will differentiate you in the market and make your services sought after.

When serving our customers and stakeholders we need to strive for good values, otherwise we will lack F-I-R-E! People want to follow leaders with enthusiasm and a can-do attitude. As Timothy Barry puts it in this article: “Top 10 Qualities of a Project Manager”, ‘Enthusiastic leaders are committed to their goals and express this commitment through optimism’.

Let the FIRE burn inside us in 2015 and make it easy for others to follow you as an inspirational leader.

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