6 Qualities That All Strong Project Leaders Exude

Strong project leaders can safeguard the success of various projects. Their skills and qualities outshine challenges in project management, and they understand how to convert leadership to action. 

Strong project leadership qualities define strong project leaders. Communication must be at the heart of all actions. And, project leaders must understand conflicts, confusion and dissatisfaction contribute to projects that fail. Although, project managers can tackle these challenges by implementing elements of project leadership, as defined by this ebook, and exhibiting these project leadership qualities. 

Do you carry the most crucial aspects of a successful project manager?

Learn the 4 characteristics of strong project management leadership.


1.  Have a Data-Driven Mindset

The first step to being a leader is using the power of evidence-based practices to improve processes. In other words, project managers must have a data-driven mindset. Assumptions and guesses should not be the basis of any decision involving a project. This ebook notes sharing information among team members can help prevent conclusions and decisions based on assumption. This includes decisions reflecting project scope, size, duration, management and beyond.

Not using data to back up decisions equates to basing decisions on chance. Since project management, by standard definitions, relies on using facts to increase a project’s chance of success, making data-driven decisions lends itself to better leadership qualities. Up to 80 percent of project failures are the result of lackluster project leadership qualities, asserts this ebook. Furthermore, project managers can eliminate this risk by having a data-driven mindset.

For example, decisions to delay or begin activities should rely on the status of preceding activities. The simplest way to think of this example is looking at laying a foundation. If workers pour a foundation correctly, studs and beams should fit into place. But, errors in laying the foundation, such as using too little cement, may result in fractures or cracks when drying. The result appears fine, but upon moving to installing beams and studs, the foundation breaks, threatening all higher floors in the project.

Considering the size and scope of some projects, this minimal issue may mean the difference between life and death of future occupants. This goes back to using standard project controls, like making data-based decisions, as explained by this blog post.  

2.  Be Proficient With Technology and Tools

Speaking of technology, the tools a project leader uses can benefit or undermine his or her success. Project managers should use best of breed project controls that rely on data to provide pertinent information.

Project leaders should understand how their tools and available software resources, like Oracle Primavera, can be leveraged to their fullest potential. In other words, new features, such as Visualizer, should be used, and shortcuts to access Gantt charts should be ingrained into the team leader’s mind.

New updates and software versions may appear overwhelming, but it is something that training can improve. Project leaders understand learning about new features, tools and elements of leadership is essential to being a successful authority figure.

3.  Have Strong Change Management Skills

There are many variables that can derail your project plans. Weather patterns may change, or changes in corporate leadership may result in dramatic changes in scope, size or duration. But, these challenges can be overcome through strong change management skills.

Project leaders must be able to adapt to changes. Chance is good that your project will not be identical to your current plans. Thus, it is essential to prepare for changes before you know what they will be. In other words, you should have a plan in place, a change management plan, that details how your team will respond to changes.

For example, a standard change management plan may include providing training on new software or systems used, an overview of how changes will impact short-term and long-term activities and ensuring collaboration continues. By working together, you and your team can rise to the challenges presented by changes.

4.  Remain Focused on the Goals.

Retaining a focus on strategic goals is another quality of strong project leaders. All goals should reflect business strategy, not just the immediate needs of the project. Moreover, goals should be realistic and smart, as explained in this blog.

For example, set goals with input from stakeholders, team members and executive-level managers within the company. Avoid ambiguity and goals that do not provide value to the project and all parties involved.

5.  Have the Ability to Maintain Full Accountability and Documentation of Projects Managed

Project leaders also understand that they are not omnipotent. The success of a project and it’s leader is determined by the success of the project management office (PMO). Thus, the office should follow strict documentation requirements, which are essential to maintaining standardization, accountability and organization.

Failure to maintain high accountability and visibility may lead to changes in budget or scope that could derail the success of the project. Thus, all project offices should utilize record-keeping software systems, like Oracle Primavera, that automatically track and detail expenses, resource availability and status of project tasks and activities.

6.  Have the Ability to Leverage the Talents and Strengths of Each Team Member

In keeping with the focus on the role of the PMO, all team members contribute to the success of a project. Strong project leaders should take advantage of the strengths of each talent member throughout the duration of the project. But, there are times when employees may fail to meet expectations.

During these instances, it is important for project managers to openly address the issue and work to correct it. Furthermore, project leaders must base such determinations on factual, accurate data. This goes back to combining technology with human characteristics. In other words, project leaders understand the role of performance management.

Get on the Path Toward Success by Learning How to Be a Strong Project Leader Now

Missing project leadership qualities are responsible for 80 percent of project failures. If your project is struggling, you may need to work on how you lead your team. Download our ebook, The Four Key Elements to Strong Project Leadership, and think about how the following qualities could help you manage and improve your project processes:

  • Having a data-driven mindset.
  • Maintaining proficiency with tools and technology.
  • Having strong change management skills.
  • Focusing on strategic goals.
  • Using documentation to boost accountability.
  • Taking advantage of each team member’s talents and skills.

If you have any other qualities that you feel have not been addressed, please note them by joining the conversation below.