While the terms “project leader” and “project manager” are often used interchangeably, they can imply different roles and responsibilities.
If you answered, Its the project manager, you might not necessarily be right! While the project manager directs and coordinates processes and resources, he or she might not be a true leader of the project.
So, who is the project leader? you might ask. A project leader is a person who works primarily with people rather than the organization and structure of a project. He or she sets visions rather than objectives, motivates rather than directs, and assists in providing focus to the entire project team. While it is said that a project manager focuses on doing things right, the project leader will focus on doing the right things.
Project management ensures that processes run effectively, while project leadership starts change. It inspires and motivates people to become innovators, creating new products and ideas, and connects the entire team to a collective project vision. So does this mean that a project manager cant be a project leader? Quite the opposite!
Project Leader vs. Project Manager: A Detailed Comparison
While the terms “project leader” and “project manager” are often used interchangeably, they can imply different roles and responsibilities based on the context. Here’s a detailed comparison of the two roles:
Overlap and Integration:
In Many Cases: In many scenarios, especially in smaller organizations or projects, the roles of project leader and project manager may be performed by the same individual. The distinction between the two roles can blur, and the focus might shift based on project requirements.
Complementary Roles: In larger projects or organizations, the project leader and project manager roles may coexist, with each complementing the other. The project leader provides vision and inspiration, while the project manager ensures operational efficiency.
In summary, while the roles of project leader and project manager share commonalities, the emphasis on leadership, vision, and adaptability often characterizes a project leader, while a project manager tends to focus on task execution, control, and resource management. However, the specific responsibilities of each role can vary based on the organization, project size, and industry.
Becoming a good project manager starts from being a good leader. Having the ability to inspire and motivate others is crucial in project management. Project managers these days have access to some of the best and most efficient tools that assist them in organizing and structuring their projects, but without leadership skills delivering a successful project might prove to be quite a challenging task.
Think about this; are you a project manager or a project leader? Why not be both?