Project Managers are the Better Leaders!


By Inken Lasar

Dubai, UAE

We live in the era of the ‘Digital Revolution’, in which constant change has become the norm. Business models are overthrown, and the way we work is undergoing constant change. It is in these times that people turn to others for direction and guidance; and leaders, who inspire others towards a common goal, are in high demand.

Leader versus Manager

An effective leader is able to build a strong team by inspiring and motivating them to work towards a common goal. A manager, however, focuses on coordinating the efforts of individual people in order to accomplish goals and objectives. Leaders tend to create something new (transformational) whereas managers tend to co-ordinate things that already exist (transactional).

Leadership Qualities 

Researchers have tried for a long time to pin down what constitutes a good leader and if these qualities are inherent or can be acquired, without a coherent conclusion.

So, what is it that makes someone look up to another person and follow him or her? People want to believe in something big, something that makes them feel their own existence is important and serves a higher goal. At the same time, they are egoistic beings and would like to see their own needs fulfilled. Captivating people therefore requires creating a strong link between the individual’s aspirations and the higher purpose referenced by the leader. The more skilled a person is at creating this link, the better he or she will be perceived as a leader. This is the art of political thinking – the capacity to skillfully influence other people towards a specific goal.

Political thinking requires strategic awareness in order to put your goal into strategic context, communications and influencing skills as well as a great deal of flexibility to constantly readjust the political strategy in case of changing circumstances. History has produced some extremely skillful leaders in terms of inspirational communications skills, such as Martin Luther King, as well as in terms of the ability to manipulate the masses, such as Hitler. The latter example shows that leadership does not necessarily always follow a good purpose – people will follow strong personalities who they think best represent their interests. 


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About the Author

pmwj26-sep2014-Lasar-AUTHORInken Lasarflag-germanyflag-uae

Dubai, UAE


Inken Lasar is a business strategy consultant with more than 13 years’ experience in the areas of business and commercial strategy, management consultancy, marketing and portfolio management. She excels in driving business results through the establishment and successful operation of the corporate planning process. Currently, she is heading the Project Portfolio Management division in a leading telecom player in the GCC. Inken can be contacted at [email protected].