Leadership, not just project management, is critical on all projects. Whether it comes just from the project manager – where it must be prevalent – or from others on the project team … leadership is very important.
And by leadership, of course, I mean true leadership. Not somebody to lead meetings, produce status reports, update the project schedule and send off a few emails every week. No, I mean true leadership. Make key decisions. Lead a skilled team. Engage the client. Negotiation strategic issues. Handle key financial situations. Network and connect as needed for the project. True leadership.
The problem is, true leadership is often lacking on some of the projects that need it the most. The reasons for this are many, and are worth noting…
Senior management is starting to micro-manage. They treat the project as a pet, smothering it with attention, thereby killing any initiative by the project manager or the team. An example is requiring any action, even the smallest, to have approval from senior management. Such an oppressive atmosphere makes it impossible to exercise project leadership.