Focusing on the Need to upskill


yourself and your team


Positive Leadership in Project Management


By Frank Saladis, PMP, PMI Fellow

New York, NY, USA

Today’s professional project manager knows that, by nature of the position he or she assumes a leadership role upon acceptance of any project assignment. This responsibility as a leader is complex and involves multiple roles. In many cases the responsibility is often not matched with the level of authority that is necessary to accomplish some project objectives or resolve project related issues. To meet this challenge the project manager, or more appropriately, the project leader, must call upon a specific set of skills to maneuver through the ever-changing project environment and the demands of a wide variety of stakeholders. Over time, and through many projects a project manager gains skills and experience and becomes more adept at dealing with the demands imposed by clients, sponsors, and other stakeholders. Experience is certainly important and has some value but developing skills and continued “upskilling” is most certainly necessary to remain successful. Especially in this time of uncertainty. (Has there ever been a time when there was no uncertainty?)

In today’s changing project environment, significantly affected by the pandemic, an unpredictable and often “rocky” economy, rapidly changing technology and the emergence of virtual project teams as a business norm, traditional training may not be enough for a leader to stay ahead of the curve. According to an article in the March –April 2021 issue of the Harvard Business Review – Reengineering the Recruitment Process, the skills needed in many roles, especially leadership roles, are continually changing and the sources of talent are changing also. The skills needed to manage and lead today’s businesses and their associated projects have an increasingly short shelf life. The reason for this, in part, is the much more frequent and often disruptive, technological breakthroughs. The pandemic drove many technology changes that significantly affected how leaders conduct business and guide their teams.

Although a “new norm” in the business world has not really been defined, one new norm that has developed is the need to skillfully manage remote employees and virtual teams.

A leader must continually adapt to the environment and focus on improving acquired skills and adding new skills to maintain an edge as a world class leader. A world class leader is defined as having 6 specific qualities:

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Honesty
  • Compassion
  • Decisiveness
  • Dedication
  • Responsiveness

These are not actually skills, they are behaviors that define the individual. The skills needed to compliment the leadership qualities are:

  • Communication – speaking, listening, writing
  • Results oriented – setting expectations and goals
  • Basic leadership – Establishing vision, mission, and direction
  • Team orientation – Building teams with diverse skills
  • Influence – Selling ideas and persuading

To meet the challenges of today’s business and project environment, the project leader must become a world class learner. Leaders must invest in a defined path of personal and professional growth. In addition, it is also important for the project leader to take an interest and encourage the personal growth of their team members. There is a need to learn as a team and to collectively learn new skills faster…


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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. (2021). Focusing on the Need to upskill yourself and your team, Series on Positive Leadership in Project Management. PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue VIII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/pmwj108-Aug2021-Saladis-upscase-yourself-and-your-team-positive-leadership-series-article.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

To view other works by Frank Saladis, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/frank-p-saladis/