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The FOUR Leadership Challenges of a Project Manager


We live in a world where almost everyone expects things to be done uncompromisingly fast. The business world demands it. Projects are rightfully not spared from this requirement. This makes a job of Project Manager more demanding and stressful. One of the many key competencies that enable speed for a Project Manager is LEADERSHIP. Project Managers work with variety of different people for a short period. 

When we think Project, we often think of resource, time, cost, datelines. People and Leadership are two words that are immediately associated and often least discussed in a Project environment.

Think about it !

Projects are mainly composed of People with a variety of skillset and competencies. People get assigned project tasks to be completed. Yet leadership OR challenges that Project Managers face in leading their Project Teams does not often top the agenda.

Let’s have a look at FOUR of those challenges :


Project Managers often gets team comprising of different business units. Their engagement is for a limited time. This gives Project Manager a very short runway to understand their Project Team members well.

The right motivation is required for Project Team member to get the required task done. Mastering rapport building can help Project Managers to communicate “unpleasant news” across, more effectively.


The world is getting smaller. The influence of technology is getting bigger. Building rapport with team members sitting across the desk in a short runway of time is already a challenging task for Project Managers. Imagine doing that with team members residing in the other side of the world where you only can hear them over a phone OR via some video conferencing facilities.

Project Managers have an additional burden of learning how their team members approach work.

  • Do they like discussions OR prefers instruction?

  • 40 hour week OR do they work long hours?

  • What's the best method, they accept feedbacks and follow-ups?

In nutshell, Project Managers are required to understand the culture at work of their team members wherever they are residing. It is never mentioned in any official document that the Project Manager has this unspoken requirement to fulfill.

Aren’t we living in the world where some rules are not written anywhere?


Leaders do not do stuff on their own.

A good leader always has the art to propel their team members to get it done. However, this thought has changed a little, over time. Some knowledge that is related to the industry OR subject matter of the project does help the Project Manager understand their team member’s effort and challenges. They do not need to be experts in their field or fortune-tellers gazing into a crystal ball. Being able to provide sagely insights and ask tough but meaningful questions can gain them a few salutes, achieve required buy-in and win respect from their team members.



The world is changing faster than ever before. So much so that “Change is the only Constant” is the mantra for everyone. Projects do not have immunity from this reality. There is no smooth sailing all the time.

Technology advances. Market demands change direction. Regulations fluctuate. Scope of Project changes.

To be able to communicate these changes to Team Members is not enough. Getting them to shift their effort as quickly as possible is required to maintain that pace of progress. Being adaptable is mandatory for Project Managers. It provides them with right frame of mind to cope with any changes.

Which of these 4 Challenges you spent most time combating ? 
Are there any other important attributes that you reckon is crucial for Project Managers out there?

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By Henik Mehta | 14 Oct 2019 | 0 Comments