Art Petty writes at Management Excellence. A few months ago, he published the ebook Leadership and The Project Manager: Developing the Skills that Fuel High Performance.

While there is a lot of talk about leadership and project management, Art takes an original approach. Instead of telling anecdotes to illustrate his point, he uses questions. For example, to illustrate what leadership maturity means, he lists the following questions:

  • Does the PM understand the true role of a leader?
  • Can the PM lead effectively without formal authority?
  • Is the PM capable of inspiring and motivating others and leading across silos?
  • Does the PM understand her role in creating a high performance culture?
  • Is she comfortable receiving and delivering constructive feedback?
  • Does she have high credibility as a professional and a person?
  • Does she understand the stages of team development and the changing leadership tasks at each stage?
  • Does she manage upwards and communicate with stakeholders effectively?

Art’s question-based approach creates a book where one stops and thinks at each chapter, and ponders one’s own answer to the questions.

Leadership as a three-way street

Art sees leadership as an art practiced on three aspects. Project Managers, he writes, should be able to show leadership to their team, the project sponsor, and the client. Especially project sponsors. He also compares project leadership to being the salesperson for the project. The project manager must sell the project, its strategy, to both the team and stakeholders.

Through four “universal areas,” Art explains his vision of leadership within a team: leadership maturity, strategic awareness, executive presence, and execution orientation.

Leadership is not control

I think this quote summarizes Art’s vision of leadership:

“The effective PM understands that he/she is working for the project team and constantly reinforces this philosophy in both words and actions.”

Art’s brand of leadership is making people want to follow you, not forcing people to follow.

A quick an inspiring read

Leadership and The Project Manager: Developing the Skills that Fuel High Performance is a short ebook that is worth the time you’ll invest in it.  Chances are, like me, you’ll spend more time thinking about the answers to the questions in the book than reading the actual text.

In Art’s words: “Go forth and succeed as a leader!”