Top 7 Leadership Tips

Delegating work, problem solving and motivating people. These are just some of the aspects of leadership involved in management. And project management is no different.

Leadership is tough. Striking a fine balance between fair and strong is a fine art. Even the most experienced project managers struggle with it sometimes.

So, without further ado, here are some tips to help you be a more effective leader!

1. You’ve got to have faith

First things first – do not micromanage! It shows a lack of faith in your team’s talent, restricts freedom and causes demotivation. You’ll come across as an arrogant leader who believes more in their own abilities than that of their team. Micromanagement shows distrust and you will lose talented individuals.

Instead, leaders must explain the overall vision, goals and requirements. You must delegate tasks and trust your team to realize the vision, achieve the goals and meet those requirements. And if they get it wrong, you can talk to them. But it isn’t your job to do their work for them.

2. Keep it friendly

People enjoy working for warm managers with high emotional intelligence. Nobody wants to work for someone who never engages in friendly chat or lacks empathy with personal issues. This fosters a bad atmosphere amongst the team, leading to demotivation, loss of productivity and even project failure.

Managers need a healthy dose of humanity. However, there’s no need to ‚Äòsuck up’ to your team and be too nice. If someone is out of line, it’s only right that you are firm. Keep a healthy balance between cheerful and empathetic, as well as strong and commanding when the time is right.

3. Communication is key

Projects thrive on communication. So as the leader of the project, you must possess excellent all-round communication skills. You must be clear, concise and confident in your speech and writing. There must be no doubt amongst your team about what you are communicating.

You must also listen, be regular and make yourself available. Don’t interrupt staff when they are explaining something. Keep the team updated regularly about important information. And maintain an open-door policy. Let staff know they can come and talk to you.

4. Make your mind up

Whether in the office, on the battlefield or in a busy hospital, leaders must make tough decisions. Hesitation is not an option, especially when you have a team relying on you for instructions. It only raises doubt and decreases trust in your abilities as a leader.

So, weigh up the options, look at the facts and make a decision that takes it all into consideration. There’s no need to panic, but at the same time, you cannot be scared to take a risk. Indecisiveness is one of the biggest killers of a project and can lead to all sorts of chaos!

5. Stay organised

As a manager, you might be lucky enough to have a PA or secretary. However, you must never rely totally on somebody else to keep you organised. This is especially true for project managers, who have a budget, plan, schedule and team to keep organised. You must remain in control of these things using tools of the trade like spreadsheets, project management software and Kanban boards.

Being organised also means you can find low performance or risks before they become an issue. Try keeping logs, having daily meetings and encouraging regular updates from staff. Being one step ahead is vital for project managers, as so much is at stake.

6. Open your mind

The best companies are those that encourage staff suggestions, innovation and feedback. As a leader, you must also be open to such things from your team. If you are closed to suggestions, you might be missing out on something that benefits you, the team and the project.

Don’t get stuck in your ways ‚Äì you might have been doing it wrong the whole time! Plus, as a manager, it is likely that you are older than your team. They might have modern innovations to show you that you never knew about.

7. Become a bookworm

I know – you might not have much time for books. But they are a valuable tool for leaders. Many of the skills in this article can be learned by reading. Check out ‚ÄòHow to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie, or ‚ÄòThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen R. Covey.

You can also read a book by someone who inspires you. Some of the greatest leaders have been inspired by others – Napoleon was inspired by Julius Caesar; Churchill was inspired by Nelson. We all can learn from great leaders of the past.

Recommended Project Management Software

If you’re interested in learning more about top rated project management software, the editors at Project-Management.com actively recommend the following:


Stephanie Rowe

Stephanie is head of content at Knowledge Train, a training company in London providing courses accredited by AXELOS, APMG, PMI, BCS, APM Group and DevOps Institute. She enjoys writing about business skills, careers, qualifications and the workplace.