Summary on types of intellectual competencies.
Leadership and organizational culture are linked to project performance. The culture of the organization exerts an influence on the leader and shapes the actions and competencies of the leader with the passage of time. For last few decades, project management has extensively been involved in management of projects but still projects are not guaranteed to be successful in various organizational environments. There are certain factors affecting management of projects in different situations where the competence of project leadership is one of the key factors. This chapter employed different keywords and methods for selection of articles synthesizing findings and research gaps of earlier studies. This chapter offers certain limitations and future directions for researchers. The outcomes of this chapter are expected to advance the body of knowledge and help the practitioners in the field of leadership and project management.
- project manager
- organizational culture
Early management and leadership studies viewed the organization as a gateway to leadership  and in many cases both the terms had been used interchangeably [2, 3]. However, the contemporary literature considers the two concepts different from each other, though with some overlapping boundaries. Leadership is a social relationship where people allow individuals to influence toward organizational change. Leaders have a vision that they can communicate and execute by guiding people into a positive relationship enabling change and growth in organizations. Leadership is process to achieve a common goal where an individual influences a group of individuals. Leadership encourages discussion and debate to guide the individuals in a working environment whereas management involves directing people to get from one point to another, using a known set of competencies . The competence of project manager as leader has been recognized in literature  and one of the key reasons for failure of project is lack of leadership competence .
Competence is a quality or state of ability, effectiveness, sufficiency, or success . However, a disagreement exists over the spellings of the term and two words, competency and competence, which are used with slightly different notion . Competency is related to effective or superior performance in a job which is an underlying characteristic of an individual [9, 10]. Competencies are expressed as the behaviors that an individual needs to demonstrate to perform a job in different organization culture [10, 11]. On the other hand, competences are related to activities in an occupation which are expressed as minimum standards of competent performance . These two concepts can be taken as complementary .
The purpose of this chapter is to explore earlier studies on project manager’s leadership competencies to synthesize their key findings and future directions for the researchers. A few literature review studies focused on identifying personality and leadership style of the project manager as a success factor  and exploring how performance of leadership in project management determines project outcomes . This chapter was guided by the following research questions: (a) What are key leadership competencies explored in literature? (b) What are the key findings of studies on project manager’s leadership competencies? and (c) What are future directions suggested by earlier research studies?
2. Literature review
2.1. Leadership competencies
The project manager’s role has changed from directing or managing to leading and therefore, a project manager needs to have requisite leadership competencies and skills . Project management studies have highlighted the significance of project manager’s leadership competencies in achieving project success [13, 58] and therefore, the researcher has identified a number of leadership competencies required for a project manager. Leadership competencies in project management literature have been classified into three main categories including intellectual competencies (IQ), managerial competencies and emotional competencies by different researchers [12, 14, 15, 16, 17].
2.1.1. Intellectual competencies (IQ)
The intellectual competencies refer to intelligence, ability of understanding the work, performing problem solving and cognitive activities such as connecting and applying relevant concepts, systematic thinking and recognizing patterns [15, 17]. Accordingly, three types of intellectual competencies identified in the literature [12, 18], are presented in Table 1.
|Critical analysis and judgment||It relates to collection of appropriate information from an array of resources, investigation of facts, determining merits and demerits, concrete assessment and decision making and understanding the effects of assumptions made [19, 20, 21].|
|Vision and imagination||This refers to innovation and imagination of a leader who has a clear vision of future course, prioritizes work accordingly and anticipates the implications of changes on implementation of his or her vision [19, 20, 21].|
|Strategic perspective||It involves a broader view of issues and their implications in which a leader investigates a broader spectrum of relationships, strikes a balance between near-term and long-term considerations, discovers opportunities and threats, pays attention to requirements of stakeholders and realizes the effects of external factors [19, 20, 21].|
2.1.2. Managerial competencies
Managerial competencies of a project manager play a crucial role in projects and these require a project leader to be able to provide consistent motivation to his or her team, encouraging them to attain excellence and quality in their performance, looking for ways to improve production and standards. According to the literature, managerial competencies have dimensions which are presented in Table 2.
|Resource management||This relates to planning ahead, organizing the resources and coordinating them efficiently and effectively. Moreover, it also involves establishing clear objectives; converting long-term goals into action plans; monitoring and evaluating staff’s work regularly and effectively; and giving honest feedback.|
|Engaging communication||It requires a leader to be a lively and enthusiastic communicator who engages others and wins support. It also includes clear communication of instructions and vision to staff. Further, these communications are tailored to the audience’s interests and focus. In addition, leader’s communication style inspires staff and audiences and conveys approachability and accessibility.|
|Empowering||Empowering means giving the staff autonomy and encouraging them to take on personally challenging and demanding tasks. It encourages them to solve problems; produce innovative ideas and proposals; and develop their broader vision. Empowering also means encouraging a critical faculty and a broad perspective, as well as encouraging the challenging of existing practices, assumptions and policies.|
|Developing||It requires a leader to believe that others have potential to take on ever more-demanding tasks and roles, encourages them to do so. Therefore, a leader develops their competencies; invests time and effort in coaching them so they contribute effectively and develop themselves; and identifies new tasks and roles to develop them. The leader believes that critical feedback and challenge are important and ensures direct reports have adequate support.|
|Achieving||A leader must involve significant risks as opportunity to get advantage and make decision. The core business issues and their likely impact on success of any project or organization are considered by the leader while making futuristic decisions. The leaders prefer to choose such activities that contribute toward the organization and its performance. Further, a leader shows an unwavering determination to achieve objectives and implement decisions.|
2.1.3. Emotional competencies
The person’s ability to perceive, identify and manage his or her emotions as well as understanding and regulating those of others are the basis for the emotional competencies. A certain level of emotional intelligence is compulsory to learn these competencies. According to Trivellas , successful project managers have higher levels of emotional intelligence as compared to their counterparts. Emotional competencies have seven dimensions which are presented in Table 3.
|Self-awareness||Self awareness is about the leader’s own capability and feelings which helps to recognize and manage activities in a way that one experience that one can manage. It includes awareness of one’s own feelings and the capability to recognize and manage these in a way that one feels that one can control. Therefore, leader requires a certain level of capability of self-belief to control one’s emotion and manage their activities to efficiently perform in working environment.|
|Emotional resilience||Emotional resilience requires a leader to perform consistently in a range of situations under pressure and adapts behavior appropriately. Moreover, he or she balances the needs of the situation and task with the needs and concerns of the individuals involved. Further, a leader focuses on strategy to cope with personal challenges or criticism to achieve better results.|
|Intuitiveness||Intuitiveness is a capability of leaders to develop their decision making and effective implementation of decisions. The decisions made by intuitiveness leaders should be clear even though presented with ambiguous or incomplete information.|
|Interpersonal sensitivity||Leaders with interpersonal sensitivity should be aware of the perceptions of others to make decisions and propose solutions. This competency demands that a leader should be aware of others achievements and commitments to actions or decisions. The leaders should actively listen for their constructive inputs and criticism.|
|Influence||The leaders encourage views of others based on understanding of their position and stature. The leaders appreciate to listen to the perspective of others and provide rational for change in organization.|
|Motivation||Motivation competency pertains to having drive and energy to achieve clear results and make an impact. It requires a leader to balance short- and long-term goals with a capability to pursue demanding goals in the face of rejection or questioning.|
|Conscientiousness||Leaders having conscientiousness competencies exhibit personal commitment, ethical consideration, and solution to business issues. The leaders encourage others to support the chosen directions and display commitment for providing course of action to manage challenges.|
2.2. Theories of leadership
A leader has cognitive (managerial) and cathectic (emotional and motivational) functions. Aristotle’s view was that a leader must build relationships with the team, advocate a moral vision, and induce by logic to manage actions. The concept of leadership has evolved over last 80 years and resulted in six leadership theories which are presented in Table 4.
|Trait theories||These theories remained famous until 1940s which said that successful leaders possessed similar traits and assumed that leaders are born not made.|
|Behavioral theories||Behavioral theories were prominent from 1940s to 1960 and said that leaders adopted some specific behaviors and thus leaders could be made.|
|Contingency theories||These theories remained center of focus during 1960s and 1970s and suggested that success of a leader was dependent on situation.|
|Visionary or charismatic theories||The visionary school of thought was famous from 1980s to 1990s and these theories were based on the studies of effective business leaders who introduced a change in their organization.|
|Emotional intelligence theories||These were famous during late 1990s and these suggested that it was the emotional intelligence that had more effect on leader’s personal performance as well as that of his or her team, rather than leader’s intellectual capability.|
|Competency theories||These theories gained popularity during late 1990s and these focused on the competencies of successful leaders rather than their traits, as was the case of |
Competency theory is a blend of all earlier theories as it encompasses emotional intelligence, behaviors and traits in terms of competencies [8, 22]. Therefore, leadership Competencies are the skill set, knowledge and behavior through which different organizations assess and develop the leader within the organization. The research on leadership gave rise to six leadership theories that evolved over a period of the last 80 years [12, 14, 15]. These theories have been adopted in all aspects of management, including organizational management and project management, with necessary adjustments specific to these areas. The most recent of these theories is the competency theory of leadership that gained popularity during late 1990s.
2.3. Classification of leadership competencies
The use of different tools and techniques has not helped in reducing the failure rate in projects. This situation has allowed the focus to shift from technology, techniques and hard skills to soft skills and leadership as a solution to the problem of project failure. Leadership competencies involved in effective management of projects can be classified at four different levels.
2.3.1. Managing self
Project managers tend to have multiple skills and competencies to more competitive and prominent because traditional managerial skills are not enough for effective business in functional or matrix based organization. Such skills and competencies are essential for project managers to perform activities effectively because a project manager’s job is more demanding and tend to deal with uncertain circumstances. Classification of competencies at level of managing self is presented in Table 5.
|Integrity/honesty||A leader behaves in an honest, fair, and ethical manner and shows consistency in words and actions also exhibit high standards of ethics.|
|Interpersonal skills||These skills require a leader to treat others with courtesy, sensitivity, and respect. He or she considers and responds appropriately to the needs and feelings of different people in different situations.|
|Continual learning||Continual learning refers to assessing and recognizing own strengths and weaknesses and pursuing self-development.|
|Resilience||It refers to dealing effectively with pressure; remaining optimistic and persistent, even under adversity and recovering quickly from setback.|
|Oral communication||Leader makes clear and convincing oral presentations, listens effectively and clarifies information as needed.|
|Written communication||A leader writes in a clear, concise, organized, and convincing manner for the intended audience.|
|Flexibility||Flexibility means a leader is open to change and new information and rapidly adapts to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles.|
|Problem solving||This competency ensures that a leader identifies and analyzes problems; weighs relevance and accuracy of information; generates and evaluates alternative solutions; and makes recommendations.|
Project managers act as a role model for the team members who establish an environment of honesty and provide opportunity for continuous learning. Project managers should possess good interpersonal skills and the need to focus on developing skills of the people involved in the project. In project environment, a leader provides flexible environment and encourage problem solving approach. Oral and written communication of a leader in the project should be clear, concise and convincing.
2.3.2. Managing people
A lot of risks and uncertain circumstances are associated with projects during the life cycle. To cater such types of risks and situations, project manager must be able to manage the people though managerial and leadership skills. Every stage of a project or situation requires different leadership skills or competencies. Classification of competencies at level of managing people is presented in Table 6.
|Human capital management||It refers to building and managing workforce based on organizational goals, budget considerations, and staffing needs. A leader ensures employees are appropriately recruited, selected, appraised, and rewarded; takes action to address performance problems and manages a multi-sector workforce and a variety of work situations.|
|Leveraging diversity||This competency requires a leader to focus on differences and values of individuals at workplace. This focus of leaders in organization helps to achieve the visions and mission. The leaders have diversity and leverage to achieve organization outcomes.|
|Conflict management||Conflict management one of the key issue at workplace. A leader appreciates constructive criticism and welcome to listen differences of opinions from others. The leader avoids confrontation at workplace and encourages resolving conflicts or disagreements through constructive discussion|
|Public motivation||Leaders show commitment to serve the public and ensure that needs of the public are fulfilled. These leaders focus on public interest aligned with organizational objectives and culture.|
|Developing||Developing is an ability of leaders to develop the team members who perform to contribute toward the organization. Leaders with developing approach provide continuous feedback to improve performance and provide opportunities of formal and informal organizational learning.|
For effective management of projects, a project leader must be competent to manage the people and involved in recruitment and selection process of team members. The selected workforce must be on the basis of need those should be able to achieve the mission and targets of the organization. The project leader should focus on differences and values of people at workplace in addition to appreciating constructive criticism and listening differences of opinions. Project manager ensures the public interest and develop the abilities of their team members.
2.3.3. Managing projects
Leadership competence of a project manager does not mean that project would be successful but it increases the likelihood of project success. Project manager’s both management and leadership competencies ensure the effective management of projects through coordinated project management processes and team members. Classification of competencies at level of managing projects is presented in Table 7.
|Team building||Leaders build their team through commitment, feeling pride, and establishing environment of trust. Leaders with strong team building abilities always extend cooperation and motivate team member to achieve desired goals.|
|Customer service||Leaders prefer to meet the expectations of both internal and external customers. Leaders consistently deliver high quality product or services to the customer for improving their organizational performance.|
|Technical credibility||Leader’s technical competency refers to understanding of appropriate skills, knowledge, policy and procedures. Leaders ensure to meet the technical demand of customer based on their specialized expertise.|
|Accountability||Leaders hold themselves accountable for achieving high quality, timely, and cost effective outcomes. To meet the objectives, a leader set priorities, accept the responsibilities in case of any mistakes, delegates work to the team, and ensure compliance with defined procedures and rules.|
|Decisiveness||A leader considers the impact and implications of decisions made to achieve the desired objectives in an organization. Leader ensures to take timely and effective decision based on available information.|
|Negotiation||Negotiation is competency of a leader to persuade others; build consensus through give and take; gain cooperation from others to obtain information and accomplish goals. Negotiation is one of the key skills of a leader to satisfy the customer or any stakeholder.|
For successful implementation of projects, project managers focus on team building and creating an environment of trust and motivation. Project managers employ appropriate skills and knowledge to meet the expectations of both internal and external project stakeholders. Project managers are responsible for achieving time, cost and quality parameters in projects. In projects, project managers have to take right and timely decisions with consensus of all key stakeholders.
2.3.4. Managing programs
Programs are combination of multiple projects in an organization with short-term and long term objectives. Project leader motivate and guide the team members to achieve organizational goals and objective through effective implementation of programs. Classification of competencies at level of managing programs is presented in Table 8.
|Technology management||A leader keeps up-to-date on technological developments, makes effective use of technology to achieve results and ensure access to and security of technology systems.|
|Financial management||This competency refers to understanding the organization’s financial processes; preparing, justifying and administering the program budget. It also involves overseeing procurement and contracting to achieve desired results; monitoring expenditures and using cost–benefit thinking to set priorities.|
|Creativity/innovation||It pertains to developing new insights into situations; questioning conventional approaches; encouraging new ideas and innovations; designing and implementing new or cutting edge programs/processes.|
|Partnering||A leader develops networks and builds alliances; and collaborates across boundaries to build strategic relationships and achieve common goals.|
|Political savvy||Political savvy helps leader to identify the internal and external politics that impact the work of the organization. As a result, he or she perceives organizational and political reality and acts accordingly.|
Project leader ensures effective use of technology and keep up to date on technological advancement for achieving high results and managing financial constraints. To ensure effective management of programs and achieve common goals, project leader encourages creativity and innovation, develop strategic partnerships, and identify internal and external politics.
3. Research methods
In this chapter, those articles were considered for review which must be published in the English and peer reviewed journal. Furthermore, specific searching keywords were used to identify relevant articles published on project manager’s leadership competence during 2005–2017 from different databases including Web of Science, Emerald, Taylor & Francis, Science Direct, SAGE, IEEE, etc. The searched articles were scrutinized to avoid any duplication. Then only those studies were included which discussed project manager’s leadership theory either qualitatively or quantitatively.
4. Results of research
Based on extensive literature review, findings and research gaps of earlier studies published from 2005 to 2017 on project manager’s leadership competence are summarized in this section. Project managers focused on task-oriented, intellectual, managerial and emotional competencies to enhance the likelihood of project success, summary of which is presented in Table 9.
|Ahmed and Anantatmula (2017) |
|Tabassi et al. (2016) |
|Ahadzie et al. (2014) |
|Galvin et al. (2014) |
|Medina and Medina (2014) |
|Nahod et al. (2013) |
|Müller et al. (2012) |
|Anantatmula (2010) |
|Battilana et al. (2010) |
|Müller and Turner (2010) |
|Geoghegan and Dulewicz (2008) |
|Müller and Turner (2007) |
|Prabhakar (2005) |
|Dulewicz and Higgs (2005) |
The researcher suggested more research should be conducted on leadership competencies involving all key project stakeholders during data collection. Situational and emotional theories should be integrated to conduct research in all phases of project life cycle. Roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined in the project and a larger sample size may be collected for research other than project managers and team members. Leadership competencies should be considered at the time of appointment of project managers and their impact on projects at different industry, sector, or country level needs to be explored. The role of project leadership should also be considered by quantitative studies at the level of a cross-section of industries and countries.
The leadership styles of project managers contribute in adoption of information technology and knowledge sharing which can impact on projects. There is a strong link between transformational project leaders and satisfaction of project team members. Leadership styles adopted at senior, middle and lower levels can be different in different projects. Summary of findings and research gaps on project manager’s leadership styles is presented in Table 10.
|Tseng (2017) |
|Larsson et al. (2015) |
|Moynihan et al. (2012) |
|Shibru and Darshan (2011) |
|Limsila and Ogunlana (2008) |
|Chan and Chan (2005) ||Found strong link between transformational and transactional leadership in organizations and project environments in the context of construction industry.|
Different leadership styles of project managers in different situations are required to be identified. Future research should consider collecting more responses and applying different sampling methods for collection of data. Employees other than project managers may be considered for designing their competency profiles at company level and using qualitative data.
There is a need of greater commitment among project manager and human resource department. Managerial, personality and emotional intelligence competencies of project managers along with other characteristics and attitude are helpful in projects. Summary of findings and research gaps on project manager’s emotional competencies is presented in Table 11.
|Blaskovics (2016) |
|Khanaposhtayi and Abyane (2015) |
|Montequin et al. (2015) |
|Obradovica et al. (2013) |
|Ying et al. (2012) |
|Clarke (2010) |
Project manager’s emotional competencies associated with projects that account for variation in project outcomes needs to be explored using larger populations. Improving emotional competencies of project managers are beneficial for learning organization and achieving project success. Emotional intelligence competencies help project managers to encourage teamwork and manage conflicts.
The project manager should clearly identify roles of team members and encourage teamwork. In projects, teamwork is one of the key success factors which should be looked at from the outset in each project. Teamwork establishes links between project manager’s leadership competence and project performance. Project managers must take care of the team to best satisfaction level and act as a mentor. Summary of findings and research gaps on project manager’s teamwork competencies is presented in Table 12.
|Andersen (2013) |
|Fung (2014) |
|Yang et al. (2013) |
|Kuen et al. (2009) |
|Malach-Pines and Dvir (2008) |
|Müller and Turner (2007) |
|Aronson et al. (2006) |
More research is required to check whether project team members have different perspectives on the project than a project manager. Project team members should be considered as respondents to evaluate the project manager’s leadership role in different sectors and countries. Best leadership styles for team members need to be identified that can be suited in multi-culture environment.
Project managers should share the vision and knowledge among team members to transform the idea into reality through projects in a collaborative environment. The project manager should possess knowledge oriented and goal oriented competencies to ensure successful implementation of projects. The success of most of the projects depends on the capacity of the industry in which they are executed and project management practices employed. Project managers should focus on training and personal development of team members which help to cope with the unique project environment. Summary of findings and research gaps on project manager’s knowledge competencies is presented in Table 13.
|Zhang and Cheng (2015) |
|Shokrzadesh et al. (2012) |
|Anantatmula and Thomas (2010) |
|Curran et al. (2009) |
|Kaulio (2008) |
|Dolfi and Andrews (2007) |
Managerial roles of project managers should be considered at industry level and the role of knowledge leaders in cross-functional both at individual and group level can be considered by the researchers and organizations. Different bases or types of knowledge need to consider along with different leadership styles in cooperative projects.
5. Discussion and conclusion
This chapter builds a chronology of project manager’s leadership competencies by synthesizing extensive literature to contribute toward the body of knowledge and to provide opportunities for establishing strong links between project manager’s leadership competencies and projects. Findings of literature review revealed that greater level of leadership competencies were associated with better project performance. Future directions of empirical studies highlighted in this chapter have not yet been addressed at large and demand for more research. A deeper understanding of the nature of the relationship between leadership competencies and project in different organizational environments could have implications that can help to identify strategies to increase project performance and promote positive behaviors of organizational culture.
Among many other success factors that affect project’s success, leadership is one of the key contributing factors. A project manager, who acts a project leader, if have a set of requisite competencies in different organizational culture, including intellectual competencies (IQ), managerial competencies, (MQ) and emotional competencies (IQ) increases the likelihood of project success. However, the literature reveals that different project environments and conditions require a project manager to demonstrate appropriate leadership competencies that best suits for a particular culture and situation. Project manager as a project leader should be competent enough in managing self, managing people, managing project, and managing programs. On the other hand, the project manager needs to learn such leadership competencies applicable in different organizational culture for effective management of projects.
This chapter explores the extensive literature on project manager’s leadership competencies, but still there are certain limitations. These leadership competencies explored in this chapter are related to projects and future research should consider reviewing such leadership competencies from other disciplines. The scope of this chapter was to highlight findings and future gaps of studies published on project manager’s leadership during the last one decade. Future gaps highlighted in this chapter provide avenues for researchers to conduct further research in order to fill those gaps. Future studies may consider conducting the Systematic Literature Review and Meta Analysis studies on similar topics to provide further insights in the body of knowledge. Finally, this chapter is review based analyses of research studies and in future empirical studies may be conducted to analyze the findings of previous studies.