Leadership has been identified as a critical component for a project management team to succeed. This soft skill, compared to tangible and technical hard skills such as time and budget management, is an interpersonal skill that allows a project manager to encourage, motivate and relate to the members of the project team. There is agreement that a project manager needs to have both hard skills and soft skills, and should be able to blend and balance its application at the required time. In 1987, Barry Posner wrote an article in the PMI’s Project Management Journal titled “What it takes to be a good project manager.” The article examines two perspectives. One prescribes personal characteristics while the other asserts problem solving abilities.
Introducing Barry Z. Posner
Barry Zane Posner completed with honors BA in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He also has a Master’s in public administration from the Ohio State University. He received a doctorate degree in organizational behavior and administrative theory from the University of Massachusetts. He is described as a warm and engaging professor and conference speaker. He is an eminent researcher who has authored and co-authored several books especially on the topic of leadership.
Professor and Educator
Barry Posner has the title of Accolti Professor of Leadership at the Leavey School of Business in Santa Clara University in California. The title is in honor of Michael Accolti, SJ, a Jesuit priest who in 1856 was the prefect of Santa Clara College, the first college in the new state of California. Father Accolti is recognized as a Professor of Leadership for his pioneering works, the same recognition being accorded to Posner. Posner served as Dean of the Leavey School for 12 years. He was also a distinguished visiting professor at universities in Hong Kong, Istanbul, and Western Australia.
Speaker and Facilitator
Barry Posner is a sought-after dynamic conference speaker and workshop facilitator. He has been involved in leadership developmental efforts in many college campuses. He has presented for organizations in the US such as Apple, Charles Schwab, Dow, HP, IKEA, Levi Strauss, Merck, and Northrop Grumman. He has also presented in other countries such as Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and several Asian countries. He presently sits at the board of directors of EMQ FamiliesFirst, one of the largest mental health treatment programs that combines research-based services with family-centered efforts.
Researcher and Author
Barry Posner has published more than 85 research articles in different journals such as that of the Academy of Management, Applied Psychology, Human Relations, and Engineering Management. He has written and co-written several best-selling books of which The Leadership Challenge with James Kouzes has been the most popular. The fifth edition remains at the top 20 in Amazon’s Best Sellers in the Leadership category. It is the result of over 30 years of research and thousands of interviews which resulted in the five practices of successful leaders, namely, 1) Model the way, 2) Inspire a shared vision, 3) Challenge the process, 4) Enable others to act, and 5) Encourage the heart. Posner and Kouzes co-founded the leadershipchallenge.com site to help facilitate and deliver positive employee and organizational outcomes.
Making Extraordinary Things Happen
The PMI article written by Barry Posner reported the findings of a survey involving 900 project managers. It identified common project problems and listed key skills needed to manage projects. The study contains analysis and discussions on how project managers can integrate both personal characteristics and problem solving abilities to effectively lead teams and successfully realize goals. In another article co-written with W. Alan Randolph of the University of Baltimore and published at the MIT’s Sloan Management Review, Posner discussed ten principles that will help project managers define goals, schedules and requirements as well as motivate members, facilitate communication and manage conflict. The title of the article is “What Every Manager Needs to Know about Project Management.”