Enhancing Project Team Competency and Effectiveness

through Authentic Leadership – Part One


Positive Leadership in Project Management


By Frank Saladis, PMP, PMI Fellow

New York, NY, USA



It is generally assumed by many in the field of project management that a project manager is placed in a leadership position when assigned to a project. I think it’s a fairly valid assumption, although there are many people, who are assigned to manage a project that may not agree 100% with that assumption. Regardless of one’s view about the leadership role, a project manager must actually “manage the project” and with that role there is some inherent leadership responsibility. The size and complexity of the project is not the issue. Whether it’s a small team or a large team, someone will be held accountable for the coordination of the work necessary to complete the project successfully.  The assigned person can provide leadership value regardless of project size or actual position in an organizational hierarchy. The key element here is whether or not an individual is creating value or, as John C. Maxwell states, “providing authentic leadership.” Authentic leadership is about creating value within an organization. It means making things happen, motivating people to succeed, making a difference, even if you are not actually leading a team. The role of project manager is certainly associated with creating value and, in most cases, involves guiding and directing team members who are assigned to the project. With that in mind, let’s focus on the need for a project manager to provide “authentic leadership, regardless of authority level.

According to Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, authentic leadership includes the following qualities:

  • Insight
  • Initiative
  • Influence
  • Impact
  • Integrity

These qualities, when demonstrated, will clearly separate the effective leader from others who have been associated with a “leadership” title. I think many will agree that there are people in positions of leadership, but do not actually offer what we can truly refer to as “authentic leadership.” Additionally, emphasis on integrity is key and directly related to the continuing focus within the project management community on Professionalism, Social Responsibility and Ethical behavior.

Executives of most successful organizations will agree that strong and effective leadership is a major factor in the work effort and activities necessary to achieve the desired levels of established Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or Organizational Success Factors (OSFs). It is important to note that much of what a leader actually accomplishes cannot be measured using standard metrics such as on time, within budget, reduced defects, etc. Most of the metrics used by organizations focus on output, not on outcome. As an example, a manager saves the company $10,000. That is the output of some activity. The question is, what was the outcome? What changed as a result of the $10,000 savings? How did the company actually benefit? What was the $10,000 used for and how did that use create value? Simply saving money, although a good thing, does not create value. The challenge is that value is not easy to define. It is associated with generating something that is useful, reliable, user friendly, improves safety, or in some way benefits the organization. We have to look past the typical financial measure and include “value metrics” when assessing performance.

Leadership is associated with value creation. It is about vision, motivation, and an ability to allow each employee or team member to achieve their personal goals of self-value while contributing to organizational objectives, working with the team to succeed, and creating an environment of loyalty and respect.

Many organizations measure leadership success through financial and productivity metrics. It is difficult to measure leadership behaviors such as:


To read entire article, click here


Editor’s note: This article is one in a series on Positive Leadership in Project Management by Frank Saladis, PMP, PMI Fellow, popular speaker and author of books on leadership in project management published by Wiley and IIL in the United States. Frank is widely known as the originator of the International Project Management Day, the annual celebrations and educational events conducted each November by PMI members, chapters and organizations around the world.

How to cite this paper: Saladis, F. (2019). Enhancing Project Team Competency and Effectiveness through Authentic Leadership – Part One: Positive Leadership in Project Management series article 3. PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VIII, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/pmwj85-Sep2019-Saladis-enhancing-project-team-competency-and-effectiveness-part1.pdf



About the Author

Frank P. Saladis

New York, USA




Frank P. Saladis, PMP, PMI Fellow is a Consultant and Instructor / Facilitator within the project management profession and has over 35 years of experience in the IT, Telecom Installation and IT Project Management training environment. He is a senior consultant and trainer for the International Institute For Learning Inc. and has been involved in the development of several project management learning programs. Mr. Saladis has held the position of Project Manager for AT&T Business Communications Systems, National Project Manager for AT&T Solutions Information Technology Services and was a member of Cisco Systems Professional Services Project Management Advocacy Organization. His responsibilities included the development of Project Management Offices (PMO) and the development of internal training programs addressing project management skills and techniques.

He is a Project Management Professional and has been a featured presenter at the Project Management Institute ® Annual Symposiums, Project World, PMI World Congress, CMMA, and many PMI Chapter professional development programs. He is a past president of the PMI New York City Chapter and a Past-President of the PMI ® Assembly of Chapter Presidents. Mr. Saladis is a Co-Publisher of the internationally distributed newsletter for allPM.com, a project management information portal, and a contributor to the allPM.com project management website.

Mr. Saladis is the originator of International Project Management Day and has written numerous leadership and project management related articles. Mr. Saladis is also the author of the Project Management Workbook and PMP ® / CAPM ® Exam Study Guide that supplements Dr. Harold Kerzner’s textbook – Project Management, A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling?, 9th Edition published by John Wiley & Sons and the author of Positive Leadership in Project Management, published by IIL Publishing. He is a member of the International Executive Guild and the NRCC Business Advisory Council. He has also held the position of Vice President of Education for the Global Communications Technology Specific Interest Group of PMI ® and holds a Master’s Certificate in Commercial Project Management from the George Washington University. Mr. Saladis received the prestigious Lynn Stuckenbrook Person of the Year Award from the Project management Institute in 2006 for his contributions to the organization and to the practice of project management.  He can be contacted at saladispmp@msn.com