Develop your influence as a project manager



By Alfonso Bucero

PMI Fellow
International Correspondent

Madrid, Spain

The first question that came to my mind when I decided to write this article was to answer the question: “Why write an article about influence?” I believe influence is a key skill a project manager must develop. Over the years, I have managed different projects and without being conscious of it, I influenced many people indirectly through my behavior, actions, and decisions.

When I first started as a project manager, persuading individuals to help reach project goals was a difficult issue for me. After a few years, I realized that everyone had an impact on others. It makes no difference who you are or what you do. You don’t have to work in a high-profile position to have clout. In reality, if your life intersects with the lives of others in any manner, you have the ability to affect them. Everything you do at work, at home, and with your coworkers and friends affects the lives of those around you.

As a project manager, you have influence over all project stakeholders. In fact, becoming a person of influence is essential if you want to be a successful project manager and have a positive impact on your projects. There can be no success without influence. If you’re a project manager, for example, your success hinges on your ability to positively impact your team members. If you understand how to become a person of influence, no matter what your professional or personal goals are or what you want to achieve, you will be able to reach them faster, be more successful, and your contribution will last longer.

It is well known that many project managers do not have authority but nevertheless they need to have influence in order to achieve project success. Influence is invisible because it is about how people think. We cannot see people’s thoughts. Thoughts drive behavior that drives actions and results. We can look at the results that influential project managers achieve but still have no idea about what makes them influential. Just as we cannot understand a person by looking at his shadow, we cannot understand influence by looking at its effect. We have to look for the causes of influence, not at its symptoms.

I believe thinking like an influencer is the first and most important step to becoming an influential project manager. We do not need to sell our soul or clone our brain to become influential. We do not need to become someone else. We simply need to build on the best of who we already are.

Your influence is not the same with all people

Influence, I’ve seen, is a strange phenomenon. Even though we have the ability to influence practically everyone in our environment, our level of influence is not the same for everyone. Do your team members all respond the same way when you offer an idea or make a suggestion to them in a team meeting? Obviously not. One person may believe that all of your ideas are brilliant. Someone else might be skeptical of all you say. You can figure out which one you need to affect. On the other side, if your concept were offered by an executive, the skeptic who first opposed it might be more open to it.

If you pay attention to people’s responses to yourself and others, you can see that people respond to one another according to their level of influence. I consider influence like a specific application of influence. Influence does not come to us instantaneously; it grows by stages.


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How to cite this article: Bucero, A. (2022).  Develop your influence as a project manager, PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue IV, April. Available online at: https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/pmwj116-Apr2022-Bucero-develop-your-influence-as-a-project-manager.pdf

About the Author

Alfonso Bucero

Madrid, Spain


Alfonso Bucero, MSc, CPS, ACE, PMP, PMI-RMP, PfMP, SFC, IPMO-E, PMI Fellow, is an International Correspondent and Contributing Editor for the PM World Journal in Madrid, Spain. Mr. Bucero is also founder and Managing Partner of BUCERO PM Consulting.  Alfonso was the founder, sponsor and president of the PMI Barcelona Chapter until April 2005, and belongs to PMI’s LIAG (Leadership Institute Advisory Group).  He was the past President of the PMI Madrid Spain Chapter, and then nominated as a PMI EMEA Region 8 Component Mentor. Now he is a member of the PMIEF Engagement Committee. Alfonso has a Computer Science Engineering degree from Universidad Politécnica in Madrid and is studying for his Ph.D. in Project Management. He has 32 years of practical experience and is actively engaged in advancing the PM profession in Spain and throughout Europe. He received the PMI Distinguished Contribution Award on October 9th, 2010, the PMI Fellow Award on October 22nd 2011 and the PMI Eric Jenett Excellence Award on October 28th, 2017.

Mr. Bucero can be contacted at alfonso.bucero@abucero.com

To see other works by Alfonso Bucero, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alfonso-bucero/