In today’s hypercompetitive world, companies are ambitious in achieving aggressive goals, and it takes a team of well-skilled people to accomplish those. To ensure the team remains productive and positive, project leaders are called in to manage tasks and goals and are an integral part of the process.
This article will explore what makes a project leader, what you can expect to do in this role, how to determine whether it is right for you, and how you can gain th skills you need through a project management bootcamp.
What Is a Project Leader?
A project leader is responsible for steering a team to complete their project goals by coordinating actions through planning and focusing on the people aspect of the team to get tasks done.
Project Leader Roles & Responsibilities
Project leader job descriptions often ask for experience leading teams, organizing project tasks, and supporting the people working on the project. Project leader responsibilities will vary from company to company, but overall, they are expected to do the following tasks:
- Work with multiple different teams to understand needs and coordinate tasks
- Manage project schedules and communicate with stakeholders on progress through reports, presentations, etc.
- Orchestrate activities to lead the team efficiently to achieve project objectives
- Productively resolve issues and challenges and report to management to improve the quality of the project
- Offer emotional support to team members to encourage and motivate them to maintain a healthy and positive work environment
- Responsible for the day-to-day activities of your team
- Develop project plans with clear goals and details for team members to pick up tasks
- Allocate the appropriate personnel and resources to complete goals
How to Become a Project Leader
Project Leader Prerequisites & Requirements
Regarding what companies are looking for in project leaders, some prerequisites will need to be obtained to meet the requirements of a project leader job description.
Most project leader roles require a bachelor’s degree with majors spanning from business management, communication, marketing, or in the industry you plan to work in, such as IT, engineering, biochem, etc. To stand out from the competition, many opt to join training programs that specifically teach project leadership skills as well.
Project Leader Skills
Project leaders are, as the title suggests, leaders and will require skills that will help lead their teams to success. Those skills include both hard and soft skills included in the list below:
- Ability to think strategically
- Troubleshooting and multitasking skills
- Customer-service-oriented mindset
- Verbal and written communication skills
- Organized and able to manage multiple priorities and projects at the same time
- Proficiency with project management tools, methodologies, and software
- Adaptability to changing project priorities and requirements in the business
- Emotional and social intelligence to understand the needs of team members
- Problem-solving skills to tackle team and project issues
What Are the Different Kinds of Leadership Models?
As a leader, you can exercise your skills in the bandwidth of different models. Which one you choose depends on your preference, what your team needs at the moment, and your company’s culture. Here are the typical leadership models you can use and blend to get desired results.
Democratic leadership involves having a leader who takes in the opinions and suggestions of a group before making a final decision. This type of leadership increases group involvement and value and typically makes team members feel encouraged and listened to by the leader. And because they are involved in the decisions, they are more engaged in the outcome of the goal.
A leader following this method tends to be more focused on logic and objectives when it comes to taking in suggestions and is curious about different perspectives. This type of leadership can lead to increased engagement and creativity but also confusion and inequality if members lack experience or feel their opinions are not considered.
Autocratic is more hierarchical with the “do as you are told” approach, where decisions are made at the top, and the leader is in charge of dictating those tasks to the team. Autocratic leaders are not focused on collaboration; instead, they are focused on obedience and results. This type of leadership can become disempowering to workers and create a dependent relationship with leadership but it is effective in emergencies when decisions need to be made quickly and efficiently.
Laissez-faire leadership puts most decision-making responsibilities onto the team and trusts them to accomplish the task. As a laissez-faire leader, you are mostly hands-off and there to provide guidance when needed. This type of leadership can boost confidence in the team and result in faster decisions and more competent employees. But there is also the potential for slow or poor results if team members are unclear on overarching project goals or have poor time management skills.
Transformational leaders create big visions of the goal and can rally workers to believe in that goal, which, in turn, motivates them to push forward. This type of leadership can foster change, gain employee loyalty, and encourage belief and participation. At its best, it can make employees productive and collaborative to achieve their mission. Still, it can lead to burnout and requires a constant connection with the employees to maintain momentum and beliefs.
Project Leader Salary
Regarding benefits and salary, project leaders can expect to make an average of $82,579 a year, depending on location and industry. With more experience, that salary can increase up to $135,000 a year.
Project Leader Training Options
To become a project leader, there are plenty of options to explore, but few will give you the full breadth of knowledge and skills necessary to stand out from the crowd of applicants successfully.
Suppose you’re looking for a university-backed program that covers the building blocks you need for project leadership in a structured way. In that case, this Simplilelarn Post Graduate Program in Project Management, offered in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts, is an option. Upon completion, you will receive an official certification you can show employers to prove your skills.
Is Being a Project Manager Right for You?
Project management and project leadership must work hand in hand to achieve the great goals all companies have to move forward, and you can be a part of this great effort if you wish. If you are interested in managing people to keep them on track while organizing day-to-day plans, then project leadership may be a viable career path for you. To learn more, check out the project management course details.
Project Leader FAQs
What Is a Project Leader vs. Project Manager?
The biggest difference between project leaders and project managers is that project leaders create plans to complete projects that focus on the needs of the people on the team. Project managers are in charge of the project’s higher-level, big-picture goals and keeping things on schedule and budget. If the project is a ship, you can think of the project manager as the one with the compass, keeping track of logistics and knowing where to sail and how far, while the project leader is the one working among the crew, understanding what each sailor needs to remain motivated and providing what they need on the ground level.
Is a Project Leader a Manager?
Typically, a project manager has the final decision on the direction of a project. Therefore, project leaders are technically not in managerial positions, but they have overlapping responsibilities in managing and addressing team needs and challenges to get to the same goal of completing a project.