But in PMI we talk about project managers. So, is there a difference between a project leader and a project manager? PMI defines a project manager as one who is responsible for project management..., and now defines project management as the application of knowledge, tools and techniques to project activities.... However, these definitions only focus on the administrative aspects of project work. Many well-known authors have written about managers and, especially recently, about leadership. Generally, these authors see a distinction according to the primary focus of the leader or manager.
Table 1,, shows the respective positions of leaders and managers on a number of issues. It is a truism that leaders focus on doing "the right thing" while managers focus on doing "the thing right".
Table 1: Differences in style
Collectively, project leadership and project "managership" may be referred to as project "stewardship". To be a steward is to hold something in trust for another. Thus, project stewardship may be defined as a willingness to be accountable for the well-being of the project organization while placing service towards the goals of the project above self-interest. It entails holding accountability for your people without exacting harsh compliance from them. In the planning phases, "managership", as described, has its limitations. Leadership overcomes these limitations. In the producing phases, leadership per se also has its limitations, and good "managership" is required.
2. Adapted from Hellreigel, D., Slocum, J. W., Jr. & Woodman, R. W., Organizational Behaviour, Sixth Edition, West Publishing company, 1992, p386.
3. PMBOK Glossary, Project Management Institute, 1987.
4. Bennis, W., On Becoming a Leader, Addison Wesley, 1989.
5. McLean, J. W., & Weitzel, W., Leadership, Magic, Myth or Method?, AMACOM, 1991.
6. Covey, S. R., Principle-Centered Leadership, Summit Books, 1991.