Project Management Institute

Guiding Force

We Asked the Project Management Community: How Do You Build Leadership Skills and Maintain a Responsive Team Environment?

We asked the project management community:




“I always go back to the leadership fundamentals of educational psychology and practice positive reinforcement. When projects don't allow for all team members to attend project status meetings, I invite the main players, plus I invite one or two of the lower tiers of the team, rotating through. I've had good feedback that merely being acknowledged and encouraged to participate makes my team members feel valued and appreciated.”

—Stephanie Reed, PMP, project manager, major projects, Thermon Inc., San Marcos, Texas, USA


“Every situation as a project manager is an opportunity to build your people skills and become a better leader. Practicing your people skills will help sharpen those leadership instincts. Sometimes you fail, but next time you will be able to fix your mistake, and you will become a better self-learner and leader. I also try to lead by example. That means getting my hands dirty. Team members will follow you if you show them that you are actively involved in the project and their particular tasks.”

—Fernando Remolina, PMP, director, projects planning and control, Astivik Shipyard, Cartagena, Colombia


“A project manager can't get caught in a one-size-fits-all leadership style, which is why flexibility is the name of the game. Your leadership skills must serve everyone's needs. I was introduced to servant leadership during my military service. Since my project management career started 10 years ago, it has taken years of practice and patience to build those servant leadership skills. It also requires deep self-awareness, such as understanding and accepting my own strengths and weaknesses.”

—Jason Wasserman, production system and supply chain lead, Americas, Heraeus, Hartland, Wisconsin, USA


“Leaders are readers. Good books can show you ways to develop as a leader and professional. Reading also helps you widen your area of expertise, which gives you the ability to respond in almost every project situation you face day to day. I make sure I always create free time to read because the knowledge and insights I gain always pay off in the long run.”

—Stanimir Sotirov, director of operations, Visrez, Dublin, Ireland


What's your biggest project pet peeve—and how do you try to fix it?

Email responses to [email protected] for possible publication in a future issue.


“Getting regular feedback and coaching from my key sponsors is one way that I build leadership skills. Having a mentor accelerates my development. By getting regular feedback and mentoring from leadership experts, I will know if I am getting more proficient. As I prepare for my feedback or mentoring sessions, I rate my leadership skills and give examples to support my rating. During the session, my mentors share their rating, and we discuss if there are gaps.”

—Michael Alcarde, PMP, program manager, Teradyne, North Reading, Massachusetts, USA


“I maintain my leadership skills through active volunteering in PMI, followed by face-to-face networking and engagement. For me, volunteering is a source of knowledge and growth that helps build leadership skills. I meet so many different people from backgrounds, industries, cultures, ages and experiences. It's a great way to become more aware of myself and the impact my leadership can have on others.”

—Yasmina Khelifi, PMP, senior project manager, Orange, Paris, France


“I've grown as a leader through teaching group exercise classes each week. I stand in front of strangers and have to win their trust, their attention and their desire to stay with me for the workout. Being a leader means creating a safe space for participants and working at the pace they need. I encourage them when they are performing well, give feedback or motivational cues when they can exert more, and I'm able to read the nonverbal cues that the people give me so I can change things up if needed. At the end of class, I make myself available to talk with participants and listen to their experience—be it good or bad.”

—Rebecca Hernandez, PMP, senior IT project manager, technology services and solutions, County of Santa Clara, San Jose, California, USA

Next-Gen Leaders

In a disruptive business environment, there's a need to develop new leadership capabilities. These are the most unique skills and abilities needed:

img 81% Lead through more complexity and ambiguity
img 65% Lead through influence
img 50% Manage on a remote basis
img 47% Manage a workforce with a combination of humans and machines
img 44% Lead more quickly

Source: Global Human Capital Trends, Deloitte, 2019

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.



Related Content

  • PM Network

    Erasing Boundaries

    By Khelifi, Yasmina As more projects have a global scope and scale, it's increasingly common for project professionals to manage stakeholders around the world, juggling time zones, technologies, languages and other…

  • PM Network

    Desfazer fronteiras

    By Khelifi, Yasmina À medida que um número maior de projetos ganha escopo e escala globais, fica cada vez mais comum profissionais de projeto gerenciarem partes interessadas em todo o mundo, fazendo malabarismos com…

  • PM Network

    Sin fronteras

    By Khelifi, Yasmina Amedida que aumentan los proyectos de alcance y escala mundial, es más frecuente que los profesionales de proyecto trabajen con interesados de todo el mundo, para lo cual deben considerar las zonas…

  • PM Network

    Força condutora

    Perguntamos à comunidade de gerenciamento de projetos: Como você desenvolve habilidades de liderança e mantém um ambiente de equipe responsivo?

  • PM Network

    Fuerza guía

    PM Network consulta a la comunidad de gestión de proyectos sobre cómo desarrollar habilidades de liderazgo y mantener un entorno de equipo receptivo.