Are you a Project Leader or a Project Manager?

Published Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Which one are you?

In essence, both Project Leaders and Project Managers are professionals and share common tasks such as planning, executing and closing a project. They are also assigned a team of individuals that have to meet certain criteria and requirements to help the project meat goals and deadlines meaning that everyone in the project even the Project Manager or Project Leader have a set of special skills that complement one another. However, inspiration and motivation are some important differences that can help stand out the Project Leaders from the herd of the Project Managers. Project leaders take the time to really get to know the team, their pains, their gains, keep them in the loop and act as coaches or mentors.

What is a Project Leader?

A Project Leader is the Super Saiyan 4 with the highest power level, the Rafael Nadal in Roland Garros French Open, Prince Jon Snow from Game of Thrones, the Jacqueline Du Pre in her extraordinary performance in the Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op.85. And that is just to name a few because we all have our list of our GOT. All those GOTs I just mentioned are Leaders in their own area of expertise that have been able to prove time and time again that no matter the hardships, the downfalls, the challenges they have faced, they have managed to motivate and inspire so many people in so many ways that their followers and fan-based are loyal and true.

Inspiration & Motivation = Dedication

Whether your an elite player trying to maintain a huge fan base, Super Saiyan protecting others and gaining their trust, a prince in need of a loyal army or a musical genius touching the lives of thousands of followers, the truth is that all those leaders in many ways try to inspire others through their skills, instruments and super powers. But how do these different leaders find a way to inspire others in such ways that they become an important figure to follow?

The Racquet: Tenacity, Perseverance & Humbleness

Let's take a visit down memory lane with Rafael Nadal, has won a record 11 French Open titles, three US Open titles, two Wimbledon titles, and one Australian Open title. Nadal has also won 57 clay court titles, including his 11 French Open titles, the most of any player in the Open Era. Talk about inspiration right? This a top elite player that eats, sleeps and dreams tennis thus being his number 1 passion and based on that drive to be better each and every time on the court, his tenacity and self-motivation show on and off the court. This is why people pay to see him, to see how he overcomes difficulties in every game and how he quickly turns the losses into opportunities while showing respect to all of his opponents. Even though he does not always go home a winner, he never losses because he learns from those situations to come back bigger and stronger to the best of his ability.

Cellist: Influencer, Prodigy & Persistence

Dedication at its best: Jaqueline Du Pré, a natural born prodigy that just at the age of 4, her passion for the cello began. Within 10 years, she rose to stardom playing with popular orchestras, performing in the most prestigious concert venues all around the world, executing exceptional concertos with well known Orchestra Directors. The cello was her most cherished instrument and her gift was her drive, her motivation and with her musical skills, she was able to transmit chills and many emotions to all of her listeners and loyal followers during her inspiring career. It was never a dull moment with Du Pré despite her early diagnosis of MS (Multiple sclerosis) that cut her musical universe short, she shared her passion and strength through inspiration, the cello. Many people can still remember how powerful her playing skills were that she was able to transmit such emotion and move so many individuals just with the sound of those 4 strings.

How can Project Leaders Inspire and Motivate?

Get better at asking good questions : This is a great way to getting to know the team and knowing to ask the good and questions that add value. Those insight questions that will help obtain the right answers. Make it more personal and less bossy.

  • Change the way you meet: Changing this up is always a good thing, lets the team be more open in different areas and in somewhere outdoorsy is even better. Who said meetings shouldn't be fun?
  • Ditch diplomacy : Let your team really express how they feel about something, establish a culture where the silent treatment is actually toxic and promote constant feedback and back reviews within the team members.
  • Inspire responsibility and provide autonomy : It is good to hold the team members accountable to big expectations and so that they can generate a sense of ownership in order to promote resourcefulness.
  • Make it safe to fail : Transmitting to the team that it is okay to make mistakes, is important because this way they are not afraid to accept failure and have the capacity to propose solutions and allow room for improvement.
  • Have some fun : Break the routine, the norm, the usual and let go of the monotone lifestyle. Change things up, allow the team to be more creative and have a crazy idea suggestion box.
  • Foster collaboration within the team : Encourage the team to fully participate by inviting their input and suggestions on how to do things better. Ask questions, listen to their answers, and, whenever possible, implement their solutions and let it be known!.
  • Set clear goals : When goals are clear and measurable, the team has a vision and a mission of where they need to aim to obtain those objectives. Guide and help meet those goals while appreciating the the journey.
  • Stop Micromanaging : Learn how to trust your team, no one and I mean no one likes a boss that is looking constantly over their shoulder bossing them around and questioning their every move. That is nonsense and it a ticking time bomb. If goals are clear, they will find a way to achieve them.


Topics: management, teamwork, leadership

Renata Aguilar

Written by Renata Aguilar

Graduated as a Navy E-3 from a four-year program where I was able to enhance leadership skills, people skills, teamwork and commitment with good analytic and learning capabilities. Project/Product Manager with 6+ years of software engineering experience – methodologies, frameworks, and guidelines such as Agile software development, Scrum Framework, and PMI guidelines & best practices with a strong capacity for emotional intelligence and Leadership skills. Honor, Courage, Responsibility, Integrity, Honesty, Passion and Commitment are the values that have helped me to become the leader I am today and have helped me overcome many obstacles on both professional and personal aspects. Those values are the ones I like to transmit and teach people.

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