Leadership Essentials For PMPs – Part 1 of 3

Michael O’Brochta, PMP

President, Zozer Inc.


The journey to project management excellence continues beyond earning a Project Management Professional (PMP) to include practicing project leadership. However, even highly skilled PMPs find success limited until they can sift through the bewildering amount of leadership information and identify actions essential for them at this point in their careers.

This is a how-to series of articles. The articles describe how PMP-level project managers can take specific leadership actions that will contribute to project success. The articles define project leadership, draw from the large body of PMI-sponsored and related project leadership research, describe the leadership role in high performance teams, give emphasis to sources of power for project leaders, and provide methods for project leaders to amplify their power. A list of specific project leader actions is included. A central theme is that PMP-level project managers can become successful project leaders by taking the actions identified.

The Problem

A recently published book by Ron Taylor titled Leadership:  Stories, Lessons and Uncommon Sense begins with a sentence that states, “There are a lot of footprints in the snow when it comes to advice on leadership.” Indeed, there is a bewildering amount of potential leadership advice in written form available. This point can be illustrated by examining the book section found on Amazon.com; approximately sixty-eight thousand books are identified in response to the search term “leadership.” And, not all of the leadership advice is consistent; it certainly is not tailored to the needs of the project manager who recently earned his/her PMP. Without a doubt, the footprints in the snow are not all headed in the same direction. So, what is a PMP who is looking to advance to higher levels of success to do? Which leadership advice is most appropriate at this point in the PMP’s career?


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About the Author

Michael O’Brochta, PMP


Michael O’Brochta, who has managed hundreds of projects during the past thirty years, is also an experienced line manager, author, lecturer, trainer and consultant. He holds a master’s degree in project management, a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and is certified as a PMP. As Zozer Inc. President, he is helping organizations raise their level of project management performance. As senior project manager at the Central Intelligence Agency, he led the project management and systems engineering training and certification program to mature practices agency-wide. Mr. O’Brochta’s other recent work includes leading the development of standards and courses for the new U.S. Federal Acquisition Certification for Program and Project Managers. He serves at the PMI corporate level on the Ethics Management Advisory Group and at the chapter level where he built and led the international PMIWDC Chapter-to-Chapter program; he is a graduate of the Leadership Institute Mater Class. Mr. O’Brochta has written and presented papers at every PMI North American Global Congress during the past decade as well as at many international, and regional conferences. Topics that he is currently passionate about include how to get executives to act for project success and great project managers. Since his recent climb of another of the world’s seven summits, he has been exploring the relationship between project management and mountain climbing.  He can be contacted at [email protected].