From Project Management to Project Leadership: Position

In Part I of this series, I outlined moving from project management to project leadership.

There are 5 P’s of Project Leadership that every project manager needs to remember: Position, Permission, Production, People Development, and Personhood.

Let’s dig into the first P: Position.

It is a common misconception that leadership is solely reserved for those at the top.

As Donald Ganon said, ‘Leadership is an action, not a position.’ 

A position merely sets the location where one’s job responsibilities are situated. A leader’s influence extends beyond job responsibilities and hierarchical positions. As project managers strive to push beyond mere titles towards impactful influence, they shouldn’t settle for followership driven by obligation.

An effective project manager creates influential relationships with stakeholders across all levels of the organization. To gain trust, project managers need to seek guidance humbly and actively on project work from all team members, including supervisors, peers, and subordinates, fostering an environment of collaboration and empowerment.

As leaders, project managers’ influence begins by empowering all team members to thrive.

While C-suite executives command followership due to the requirements of their job, a project manager’s leadership position is characterized by followers who are motivated by respect, not obligation. 

True leadership is measured by extending influence that transcends positional authority.

The influential project manager can exert influence at every level of the organization by building relationships with peers, supervisors, and subordinates. Through impactful leadership, a PM gains elevation within the organization as they receive recognition and respect from individuals at all levels.

‘The true measure of leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less’

John Maxwell