Skip to content
Added to your Saved Content Go to my Saved Content Added to your CPD log

View or edit this activity in your CPD log.

Go to My CPD
Only APM members have access to CPD features Become a member Already added to CPD log

View or edit this activity in your CPD log.

Go to My CPD

What is project team management and leadership?What is project team management and leadership?

Definition

project team is a group of people working together in collaboration or cooperation towards a common goal. Some teams are co-­located in the same geographic area; some span multiple organisations and virtual team-working is increasingly prevalent.

In each case, the ability of the project professional to develop and lead teams is of vital importance.

Definition from APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

Teams and leaders

For teams to be effective it is important that team members are understood as individuals in terms of their capabilities, their preferences, their cultural norms and expectations as well as the social dynamics between team members. Teams are increasingly international, with individuals who bring diverse skill-sets and perspectives, and can be located across countries and continents. National cultures are influential in shaping behaviours in project-based working. The project professional has an opportunity to improve outcomes by harnessing diversity and inclusion from the people available.

Leaders need to adapt their style and approach to the needs of the team and the work that needs to be accomplished, this is called situational leadership. Leadership is the ability to establish vision and direction, to influence and align others towards a common purpose, and to empower and inspire people to achieve success.

There are some situations when the team leader needs to be directive, for example, to address an issue that threatens the achievement of objectives. A mentoring or coaching style is appropriate when there is time to focus on development of the team as well as goal achievement.

Taking time to try to understand the prevailing culture in an organisation is an important part of stakeholder analysisproject team management and team leadership. Organisational culture can be defined as the way things are done in an organisation, the unwritten rules that influence individual and group behaviour and attitudes which are applicable at multiple levels of organisation, including national culture or project culture.

Managing a team includes understanding and noticing workplace stress; the adverse reaction that people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed upon them.

Project-based working will inevitably result in situations where individuals feel stressed and it is a crucial skill for the project professional to be able to notice signs of their own stress and have coping strategies, and to be alert to the signs of stress in the team.

Managing a team with culture and relationships in mind is key to good project management. Team ethos or team spirit plays an essential part in how everyone interacts with one another – a culture of trust and openness enables alignment to the project goals. 92 per cent of survey respondents in the Dynamic Conditions of Project Success research consider team ethos as an important factor for project success. Find out more about the conditions that enhance project outcomes here.

Leading major projectsMajor projects

When you’re a project professional working on major projects, programmes or portfolios, there are substantial complications and challenges. You can demonstrate your expertise and specialise in this area with the APM Major Project Leadership Specialist Certificate. Showcase your skills and experience in leading major projects to stand out from other project professionals.

Based around eight competences, the specialist certificate has been created by collaborating and working alongside representatives from private and public sector organisations who already lead the way in delivering major projects. It provides assurance to organisation that you have the specific skills, behaviours and experience required to lead on projects with significant macro impact.

Learn more

Watch: Working with dispersed teams

This video is hosted by a third party (YouTube.com), you cannot view this video content unless you accept marketing cookies to be able to view this content. If the popup doesn't appear, please clear your browser cache and refresh the page.

Watch: Leadership skills for successful projects

This video is hosted by a third party (YouTube.com), you cannot view this video content unless you accept marketing cookies to be able to view this content. If the popup doesn't appear, please clear your browser cache and refresh the page.
Evolving Project Leadership (1)

Evolving project leadership: From command and control to engage and empower

Evolving project leadership presents the project practitioner with two journeys: the first establishes a vision of what good project leadership looks like; the second offers concrete steps to achieving this.

Buy from bookshop

Related reading

COVID Test 620 X 620[1]
Lessons in collaboration for a Covid world

Gillian Magee, head of programme delivery at AstraZeneca, passes on her tips to make collaboration work in our new normal... read more.

Read blog (🔒)
Shutterstock 1022439985
Why hubris is at odds with good leadership

Hubris evokes Greek tragedy and ancient myths of heroes and kings who destroy themselves through pride. But it is as relevant today as it ever was... read more.

Read blog (🔒)
Shutterstock 158023340
Five key challenges project leaders face

Project managers are constantly facing challenges that threaten the success of the projects they lead and the teams that they manage... read more.

Read blog
Shutterstock 685086652
How to manage a multigenerational team

Managing cross-generational teams can be challenging, but how you approach generational differences really does matter when it comes to improving project delivery... read more.

Read blog (🔒)
Port 620 X 620[1]
Project leadership: skills, behaviours, knowledge and values

This research has sought to draw out project leadership competences from the perspective of practising project leaders, aspiring project leaders, heads of profession, project sponsors and clients... read more.

View research
Shutterstock 654285739
Beware the leader who doesn’t listen and always thinks they are right

Hubris is not ‘just’ pride or arrogance. It is the kind of extreme pride and arrogance that arises when someone has had past successes and no longer thinks they are capable of being wrong... read more.

Read blog

9 Nov - 🕑 60 mins

THE APM PODCAST

How to be a great leader

In this episode, our topic is how to be a great project leader.

We pin down exactly what it means to lead a project and how this role is evolving to reflect the changing nature of projects and obviously in 2020, the pressures of the COVID pandemic.

Explore all podcasts
Leadership Responding To Complexity

Leadership: Responding to complexity

The aim of this research is to provide a systemic leadership framework for responding to complexity that can support the continued capability development in the transformation portfolios of government.

Explore research
APM Body Of Knowledge 7Th Edition Promo Image

APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

The APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition is a foundational resource providing the concepts, functions and activities that make up professional project management. It reflects the developing profession, recognising project-based working at all levels, and across all sectors for influencers, decision makers, project professionals and their teams. 

Buy from the bookshop

You may also be interested in

Apm Learning V2 Card
APM Learning

The APM Learning portal is an online resource which provides members with access to digital guides, modules and other digital learning resources as part of the membership benefit.

Resources V2 Card
What is ...?

Browse our popular project management 'What is ...?' topics for definitions, quick insights, view related case studies, research, blogs and glossary.

Project V2 Card
Project Journal

Project – APM's official journal – is circulated quarterly for members only, and online for regularly updated news, blogs, opinions and insights for those in the project community.

Hub V2 Card
APM Community

The APM Community is our online community platform that connects our members faster and easier than ever before.