Positive Project Leadership


Positive Project Leadership – Enhancing Project Team Competency and Effectiveness

By Frank P. Saladis, PMP

New York, USA

Based on my experience as a project manager and manager of project managers and the documented expectations of many project sponsors and executives, it is my belief that the project manager is placed in a leadership position regardless of type of project. The size and complexity of the project is not the issue and does not define leadership capability. It is the ability to adapt to the challenges of the project, and the value the project manager brings to the team and the organization. People can make a difference and provide leadership regardless of project size or actual position in an organizational hierarchy. The key element here is whether or not an individual is creating value or, as John C. Maxwell states,” practicing authentic leadership.” Authentic leadership is about creating value within an organization through innovation, commitment, and passion for excellence. It means “making things happen”, motivating people to succeed, and making a difference even if you aren’t the designated leader of the team.

According to Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, authentic leadership includes the following qualities:

  • Insight
  • Initiative
  • Influence
  • Impact
  • Integrity

These qualities, when demonstrated, will clearly separate the effective leader from others who have been associated with the leader title. Additionally the emphasis on integrity is a key factor and is directly related to the domain in project management, referred to in a Role Delineation study by PMI®, as Professional and Social Responsibility. The professional project manager is expected to display characteristics of respect, ethics, and an understanding of diversity in the project environment. It is relatively safe to say that the issues that have created many of the world’s economic problems can be attributed to a lack of authentic leadership.

Executives of most successful organizations will agree that strong and effective leadership is a major factor in the effort to achieve the desired levels of organizational performance. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or Organizational Success Factors (OSFs) are important but much of what a leader actually accomplishes cannot be measured accurately. Leadership is about vision, motivation, and an ability to allow each employee or team member to achieve their personal goals of self-value while contributing to organizational objectives, working with the team to succeed, and creating an environment of loyalty and respect.

It is difficult to measure leadership behaviors such as:

  • Providing an environment where every person can excel
  • Managing with respect
  • Managing with integrity and honesty
  • Effective Listening
  • Creativity and innovation (establishing an environment where creativity and innovation may flourish)
  • Sharing knowledge (thought leadership)
  • Mentoring (challenging people to reach higher levels of performance and personal growth)
  • Continuous personal improvement – always seeking knowledge and building on one’s education, skills, and competency

These behaviors are somewhat intangible in terms of actual measurement but are extremely important in any business environment. A 360 degree type of evaluation process may help to capture feedback about these behaviors.


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About the Author

Frank P. Saladis

New York, USA


Frank P. Saladis
, PMP, PMI Fellow is a Consultant and Instructor / Facilitator within the project management profession and has over 35 years of experience in the IT, Telecom Installation and IT Project Management training environment. He is a senior consultant and trainer for the International Institute For Learning Inc. and has been involved in the development of several project management learning programs. Mr. Saladis has held the position of Project Manager for AT&T Business Communications Systems, National Project Manager for AT&T Solutions Information Technology Services and was a member of Cisco Systems Professional Services Project Management Advocacy Organization. His responsibilities included the development of Project Management Offices (PMO) and the development of internal training programs addressing project management skills and techniques.

He is a Project Management Professional and has been a featured presenter at the Project Management Institute ® Annual Symposiums, Project World, PMI World Congress, CMMA, and many PMI Chapter professional development programs. He is a past president of the PMI New York City Chapter and a Past-President of the PMI ® Assembly of Chapter Presidents. Mr. Saladis is a Co-Publisher of the internationally distributed newsletter for allPM.com, a project management information portal, and a contributor to the allPM.com project management website.

Mr. Saladis is the originator of International Project Management Day and has written numerous leadership and project management related articles. Mr. Saladis is also the author of the Project Management Workbook and PMP ® / CAPM ® Exam Study Guide that supplements Dr. Harold Kerzner’s textbook – Project Management, A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling?, 9th Edition published by John Wiley & Sons and the author of Positive Leadership in Project Management, published by IIL Publishing. He is a member of the International Executive Guild and the NRCC Business Advisory Council. He has also held the position of Vice President of Education for the Global Communications Technology Specific Interest Group of PMI ® and holds a Masters Certificate in Commercial Project Management from the George Washington University. Mr. Saladis received the prestigious Lynn Stuckenbrook Person of the Year Award from the Project management Institute in 2006 for his contributions to the organization and to the practice of project management.