Project management is a role that comes with the task per responsibility to lead a team to successful project completion. To do this, understanding each team member and stakeholder’s roles, strengths, and weaknesses is a fundamental prerogative. The Project Management Professional (PMP) exams emphasize this, detailing various options to drive different team members and stakeholders. This article will delve into these options and how they can be utilised for effective project team leading.

Table of Contents

Understanding Team Members

Every team is made up of individuals with varying personalities, skills, and work approaches. Between the Project Manager (PM) and the project team members, the communication must be clear, regular, and useful. Miscommunication can lead to project failure.

Directing Style of Leadership

This style is most suited for individuals who are not experienced or lack the skills needed to accomplish tasks. The project manager provides precise instructions and monitors their performance closely.

Coaching Style of Leadership

Rather than providing direct instructions, the PM does the role of a coach. They guide the team members on improving their skills and knowledge necessary for the project. This style is best suited for individuals keen to learn and grow but lack the confidence to do tasks.

Supporting Style of Leadership

In this style, the project manager takes a step back, allowing team members to take ownership of their tasks while still providing support when needed. This style is used when the team members are competent but need motivation and reassurance.

Delegating Style of Leadership

Here, the PM trusts the team members to perform their tasks without much interference. This style is usually used with highly skilled and experienced team members.

Directing Coaching Supporting Delegating
Best for Inexperienced members Keen to learn Need motivation Highly skilled
Role of PM Directing and monitoring Guiding Providing support Minimal interference

Approaching Stakeholders

Stakeholder management is a critical part of project management. Each stakeholder impacts the project differently and should be treated uniquely.

Engage Stakeholders

The PM should ensure all stakeholders are part of the project from the beginning. This includes developing good relationships, understanding their expectations, and maintaining constant communication.

Manage Stakeholder Expectations

The PM must be transparent about the project’s progress, any potential threats or problems, and the steps being taken to address these.

Resolve Issues

The PM should be proficient to resolve any issues that arise, while balancing the needs of all stakeholders. This could mean negotiating, mediating, or even taking hard decisions.

In conclusion, leading various team members and stakeholders in a project is a diverse task that requires conscious efforts and strategic steps. The command of these options can make the difference between project success and failure. Remember, everyone is different. So, treat them that way. Finally, never stop learning and improving your leadership styles and stakeholder management techniques.

Practice Test

True or False: As a Project Manager, you should use same leadership style for all team members.

  • True
  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: Every team member is unique and hence the project manager needs to adapt different leadership styles depending on the team member’s experiences, roles, and competencies.

In project management, the stakeholders include:

  • a) Customers
  • b) Project team members
  • c) Top management
  • d) All of the above

Answer: d) All of the above

Explanation: Stakeholders in project management include all individuals or groups who have interest in the project. This includes customers, project team members, and top management.

Autocratic leadership style is best suited for:

  • a) Highly skilled team members
  • b) Team members who require close supervision
  • c) Team members who lack motivation
  • d) None of the above

Answer: b) Team members who require close supervision

Explanation: Autocratic leadership style is where the leader makes all decisions and closely supervises and controls the team members. This style is best suited for team members who require close supervision.

True or False: Transformational leadership style is suitable for project management.

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: Transformational leadership style, where a leader works with teams to identify needed change, encouraging and inspiring team members to higher levels of performance, is often considered suitable for leading project teams.

In project management, who has the primary decision making authority?

  • a) Customers
  • b) Project Manager
  • c) Stakeholders
  • d) Top management

Answer: b) Project Manager

Explanation: In most of project environments, the project manager has the primary decision-making authority, although stakeholders’ inputs may be important for decision-making.

Laissez-faire leadership style should be used:

  • a) When team members are expert and motivation driven
  • b) When team members are novice and need close supervision
  • c) Always
  • d) Never

Answer: a) When team members are expert and motivation driven

Explanation: Laissez-faire or hands-off leadership style should be used when team members are highly skilled, self-driven and require less supervision.

True or False: Communication problems are often a result of different leadership styles.

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: Different leadership styles can sometimes lead to communication problems as every leadership style has its own preferred way of communication.

Which of the following are Project Manager’s options to handle conflicts within the team?

  • a) Avoidance
  • b) Collaboration
  • c) Compromise
  • d) All of the above

Answer: d) All of the above

Explanation: An effective leader should be capable of handling conflicts by employing different conflict resolution techniques such as avoidance, collaboration and compromise, depending on the situation.

Autocratic leadership style is most suited for:

  • a) Crisis Management
  • b) Self-driven Team
  • c) Routine Work
  • d) Both a) and c)

Answer: d) Both a) and c)

Explanation: Autocratic leadership style, where decisions are centralised and the leader has full control, is well-suited for crisis management and routine work.

True or False: The project manager should alter his leadership style according to the progress of the project.

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: As the project progresses and the project environment changes, the project manager may need to adapt different leadership styles to deal with different situations.

Interview Questions

What are some leadership styles that can be applied to lead various team members and stakeholders in project management?

Several leadership styles include democratic leadership, autocratic leadership, transformational leadership, transactional leadership, laissez-faire, and servant leadership. The choice depends on the team members’ characteristics, the situation and the corporate culture.

How would you effectively use transactional leadership in a project management setting?

Transactional leadership would be effective in situations where all team members understand the chain of command and have specific tasks or projects to complete. The team leader gives incentives or rewards for successful task completion or penalties for failure.

What is the role of transformational leadership in leading stakeholders in a project?

Transformational leaders inspire and motivate stakeholders by setting high expectations, inspiring a shared vision and developing a strong trust relationship. They play a crucial role in stakeholder engagement by harnessing their motivation and commitment for project success.

How can a project manager use servant leadership style to lead various team members?

The servant leadership style puts the needs of the team members first and helps them develop and perform at their highest level. Here, the project manager focuses on the growth and well-being of team members, promoting collaboration and trust.

What is democratic leadership and when is it suitable in project management?

Democratic leadership, also known as participative leadership, involves making decisions based on the input of each team member. This style is effective in situations where changes are needed or during strategic planning where the team’s buy-in is crucial.

What is the role of an autocratic leader in project management?

Autocratic leaders make decisions without consulting with others, providing clear, directive orders. In project management, this could be suitable for projects with tight schedules or where quick decisions are necessary and team members are less experienced.

When is the Laissez-faire leadership style NOT suitable in project management?

The Laissez-faire leadership style is not suitable when team members lack the motivation, knowledge, or responsibility to complete tasks without direct supervision. Team members might delay tasks or deliver low-quality outputs without good oversight.

How can a project manager reconcile different leadership styles within a diverse project team?

The project manager needs situational leadership, where they adapt their leadership style depending on the situation or the particular team member’s needs. This promotes flexibility and responsiveness.

How can a project manager manage various stakeholders effectively?

The manager should identify and understand stakeholders, their potential impact on the project, and their communication preferences. The manager can then engage them appropriately, using communication, negotiation, and conflict resolution strategies.

How does effective leadership influence stakeholder engagement in a project?

Effective leadership provides clear direction, motivates, resolves disputes, and involves stakeholders in decision-making, thereby increasing their engagement and commitment to the project.

How can a project manager use communication to lead team members and stakeholders effectively?

The manager can use communication to clarify expectations, provide feedback, and motivate the team. Communication is also crucial for settling conflicts, facilitating cooperation, and ensuring transparency.

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