Above and Beyond: The Secrets of Outstanding Project Leadership


By Tresia D. Eaves, MHR, PMP

Texas, USA

What is the secret for delivering wildly amazing project management leadership? The first step towards transformation is for the project manager to develop situational awareness. From the strategic vision of the company down to the smallest project, understanding the context of a project in the bigger landscape of a company’s business is only part of situational awareness and a skill that enables project managers to set themselves apart in a very competitive playing field. Understanding this will enable you to never overlook an opportunity to add value.

As part of this understanding of your company’s vision, you must also have a vision for your team and yourself and how you fit in the value proposition. This is a concept referred to as “becoming a 360- degree thinker”. This is when we look at our company’s history to understand where we’ve been to then understand how we best chart our course to arrive at where we’re heading. Becoming a 360-degree thinker means the leader will seek first to:

  • Understand the vision-know the vision of your company for the next 1-5 years and understand your role in making that vision reality.
  • Know the business trends-keep up with the latest trends in business…for example, a trend lately is for businesses to enlist “cloud” support for email or other software needs.
  • Active learning-be sure you are looking to constantly improve or grow your skills such as getting a Lean Six Sigma certification or an ITIL credential. And how best to apply these skills to add value to your company’s overall bottom line.
  • Build the team and communicate the vision-whether the team is granted or you must recruit and build the team, make sure you are including them in the vision for the organization and that they understand their role.
  • Proactively analyze the processes-don’t wait for something to break; measure the effectiveness of your processes and always consider how you might make things easier and more efficient for the team and your company.

Once you understand the concept of becoming a “360-degree thinker”, we can move the conversation into applying these skills to attaining success as a modern leader and here we explore several concepts from our book about how to perform as a leader in today’s business environment. We detail our 3-step process starts with understanding and planning a journey of personal improvement. Sun Tzu records in “The Art of War”: “Thus it is said, one who knows his enemy and knows himself, will not be endangered in a hundred engagements.” We believe that this is the initial concept of situational awareness taken to the next level so that you can:


To read entire paper (click here)

Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 8th Annual UT Dallas Project Management Symposium in Richardson, Texas, USA in August 2014. It is republished here with permission of the author and symposium organizers. For more about the annual UT Dallas PM Symposium, click here.

About the Author

pmwj29-dec2014-Eaves-AUTHOR PHOTOTresia Eavesflag-usa

Texas, USA

Tresia Eaves, MHR, PMP is a 21-year technology and government project and program delivery expert. She is also a decorated military veteran. Her practical approach to project management has garnered many awards including the now PMI-sponsored Dr. Harold Kerzner International Project Manager of the Year Award, 2007 and she is a graduate of the prestigious Project Management Institute (PMI) Leadership Masters Course, 2010. Her former roles at companies including Winstar Professional Services, KForce, Zixit, SENTEL, Dibson, Plexus Scientific and Speed Commerce have given her many opportunities to use her leadership skills to help individuals, teams and entire organizations realize their greatest potential. Mrs. Eaves has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Baylor University in Texas and a Master’s in Organizational Behavior from The University of Oklahoma. She has held numerous leadership positions inside PMI including the elected Chair of the Board for the PMI Information Systems Specific Interest Group (ISSIG) in 2007 and Vice President of Education for the PMI Fort Worth Chapter. Tresia can be contacted at [email protected].