Role of Leaders in Project Success – Review of Leading in Project Management

Different people have very different, often conflicting expectations of a leader.  The leadership role is complex and it is critical to project success.  Typical expectations stakeholders have of a project leader as follows –

External Role

  • Figurehead
  • Monitoring Role
  • Negotiator
  • Controller

Internal Role

  • Resource Allocator
  • Coordinator
  • Problem Solver
  • Team Leader


Project leaders are the figureheads of their projects.  They are called on to represent their projects at most, if not all.  It is important for project leaders to display proper demeanor in all venues.  Projects and project teams are mostly influenced by its leaders.  It is important for project leaders to be up to date on the status of their projects, and to be able to communicate about the progress, needs, and benefits of their projects to external stakeholders as and when required.

Monitoring Role

Project leaders need to actively embrace, develop, and maintain their monitoring and coordinating role.  The project leaders are called on to do business with suppliers, clients, management, the public, and other stakeholders.  They are often expected to socialize with stakeholders to develop closer ties with them.  The project network is a principal source of information about stakeholder needs, concerns, resources, and intentions with regard to the project.  The project leader needs to continually observe the network of stakeholders to get important project information, anticipate project problems, and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.


Project leaders must be able to communicate the benefits and needs of their projects in terms that speak to stakeholder interests.  Working with their ties in the larger project network, leaders also need to help members of their project team resolve difficulties they may encounter outside the team. When stakeholders first come together, all project parameters—scope, costs, and schedule are open for negotiation.  The project leader’s key objective in these negotiations is to ensure project success.


Clients and higher management in the host organization expect project leaders to control their projects.  Essentially, the controller role means that the project leader makes sure the project is proceeding as planned—producing deliverable according to specifications, in line with the budget, and on schedule.  Day-to-day problems with project tasks are generally expected to be handled within the project itself.

Resource Allocator

Project leaders are expected to look ahead in the project to spot and plan for unanticipated needs and changes.  Initial project plans, of course, require project leaders to allocate resources among project activities.  As the project moves forward, however, project leaders may need to shift resources from one activity to another, for example, to keep the project on schedule.


As the project’s coordinator, leaders need to ensure that all pieces of the project and the project team are working together toward their common project objectives.  Although coordination is also a need in general management, when operations reach a steady state, coordination can be achieved with standard operating procedures.

Problem Solver

Project leaders are generally confronted with a constant stream of problems.  Although project leaders should develop and empower their teams to solve problems as they arise, the project leader has ultimate authority and responsibility for problem solving in his role as problem solver.

Team Leader

Project leaders are expected to take the lead in the entire major task and operational decisions of the project from project initiation to close down.  There are an endless number of social-psychological issues that confront project leaders, but motivation, discipline, and conflict management are three of the most common ones.  Making sure to reward good work is the more pleasant side of motivating team members.

The tools in Smart Admin help Project Mangers to complement most of the expected roles as a Leader and help Project Mangers in updating project status, managing resources, resolving problems, communicating with team members and controlling overall project activities.  This helps the Project Managers to fulfill the role as a Leader during the entire project progress.

SMART ADMIN is a cloud-based software for generating GST Compliant Invoice, Payroll management, Timesheet and Project Tracking – visit SMART ADMIN for FREE Trial and Registration.


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