Transformation from Project Leader to Project Manager

The terms ‘Project Leader’ and ‘Project Manager’ may sound very similar but their responsibilities differ greatly. A project leader is the one who leads a team through any process and has the vision to deliver the project successfully; by leading a set of people by unifying their vision to his. A project manager on the other hand is responsible for every phase and task that is a part of the project and makes sure that each of them runs smoothly so that the end result can be achieved without any glitches.

Still sound the same? Let us see how they differ so that it can be clearly understood how one can transform from a project leader to a project manager. Let us take an example of how would one approach PRINCE2 Project Management.

Project Leader Vs Project Manager

A project leader focuses on long term things. He sets his vision upon a bigger picture and continuously develops and challenges his vision. He leads a set of people and encourages them to try various techniques and ideas that would help them fulfill their vision. He focuses on all the people involved and his role is quite democratic in nature. In general, project leaders set various policies that would be beneficial for all and they imbibe trust in a team; even while exercising flexibility. They focus more on risk opportunities and develop plans that are central to the selling of products and other allied tasks.

A project manager, on the other hand, focuses on things that are entirely different from that of the project leaders. To begin with, they focus on short term things and lay down goals and objectives instead of having a long term vision. They put in efforts to underline how can they sell a product and when. They focus on their organizations and their structure to fulfill overall goals; and their role is not as democratic as compared to that of a project leader.  They maintain certain standards and conform to them instead of challenging the same. In fact, they imitate the success of one project onto the next. They have strong administrative skills and focus on consistency rather than promoting flexibility. They prefer risk-avoidance and exude control over their team. All these responsibilities are practiced and taught in most Prince 2 project management courses. 

Transforming from Project Leaders to Project Managers

There may come a time when a project manager has to don the role of a project leader and vice versa.It may not be an easy process but it isn’t impossible. Prince 2 project management training makes the transformation a smoother affair. If a situation so arises that insists upon a project leader becoming a project manager, the following things can be followed to make the transformation process simple.

  • Learning how to manage the best out of available resources to fulfill overall goals.

  • Managing every single team member and monitoring their performance. The PM should lay importance on planning and executions of the team-members’ tasks by staying behind the team, rather than leading them from the front.

  • By improving the organizational skills of the team and being an efficient planner, instead of acting as a mentor only.

  • Learning how to adopt the best procedures that already exist, rather than coming up with new ideas like a project leader does.  

  • Insisting on being an expert who finds out the best solutions when faced with new challenges.

  • Being a strategist rather than thinking like a visionary.

  • By facilitating the team in a way that it achieves targets in the most efficient manner.

If a good leader has the ability to change the world, an efficient manager has the ability to manage that change well.

Happy Transformation

Project management in Prince 2 is quite challenging yet rewarding. There are many who wish to manage a project and make it successful. Capable people not only make great leaders, they even emulate great managers. This transformation may take some time but it definitely is not an impossible task.  

All the best.

Author : Uma Daga

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Uma Daga