The Open Source Project Management Community

Passion to Lead; Do You Have What it Takes?

Do you have what it takes to go from a good to great project manager? “Good to Great” by Jim Collins was a business book based on research on how a good company could become a great company. Collins also introduced the concept of Level 5 Leadership; these leaders “blend extreme personal humility with intense professional will.” I use this analogy of Collins book with project managers to make a point. Good project managers have a foundation of knowledge and experience however, the transition to a great project manager is through a journey of self discovery.


As a graduate of PMI’s Leadership Institute Master Class 2007 and a credentialed project management professional; PMI has been a very integral part of my leadership journey to becoming a great project manager. Paying it forward is my goal today; sharing with my community of project managers to advance the profession one project manager at a time.


PMI is a leader in promoting leadership as a competency for project managers in its standards and services. PMI offers a Leadership Institute curriculum for project managers to get engaged. It offers the following:


  • PMI’s Leadership Institute curriculum (42 competencies, and 172 skills that support those competencies).
  • PMI’s Career Framework – assist aspiring PMs, credentialed PMs and employers to develop a career path for PMs in their organizations.


Check PMI’s website at www.pmi.org for more information.


Most project managers come up through the ranks in an organization as “accidental” project managers (PMs). They become passionate practitioners and consultants that earn their trade by providing services to help organizations manage their projects and portfolios. Certainly, many PMs have earned a credential or two along the way, quite a few have volunteered with a local Project Management Institute (PMI) chapter or community of practice.


Many factors are pushing for project managers to have better leadership and soft skills. The economy has challenged many organizations to do more with less, focus resources on failed projects, consolidate their infrastructure and critical systems, implement virtual teams to launch new global initiatives, and utilize fewer outsourced resources to manage high profile enterprise and internal projects. These emerging trends all focus on the need for project managers to be great leaders. Project managers are valuable assets to an organization; increasingly project managers in organizations across the globe manage the service delivery of innovative services to customers and stakeholder to achieve greater market share and return on investment.


Earlier this year, I spoke at gantthead.com PMXPO 2011 about the “Hard Work of Mastering Soft Skills”. My web cast presented the top six soft skills leaders need today to manage their projects more effectively, power tips to promote project success and three leadership tips for action.


These tips are timely and can be tailored to meet your development needs.


Leadership Development Roadmap:

The Leadership Roadmap is an at a glance tool any project manager can use in conjunction with my slide presentation. It allows you to focus on your personal growth and development and identifies goals for each attribute you need to focus on.




1. Foresight Advanced PM + Change Leadership
2. Organized Focus + Prioritization
3. Leadership Mentor + Personal Development Plan (PDP) + Emotional Intelligence
4. Communication Audience + Stakeholder Management
5. Results Oriented Pragmatic + Big Picture
6. Empathetic People oriented +Customer focused


Four Leadership Power Tips for Success:

Leadership and the development of your leadership style and brand is a journey of self discovery. As a PM everything you do is for your team, your stakeholders and your customers. You want to continue to grow and develop as a Project Manager so you can step up to take leadership roles to manage multiple projects, lead a significant enterprise wide project, negotiate important contracts and conceive and execute an innovative use of IT for competitive differentiation.


  • Develop a personal development plan
  • Develop a personal vision
  • Assess your personality traits, strengths and weaknesses (Myers/Briggs, SDI Inventory)
  • Develop your leadership style

Three Leadership Actions for You to Do Now:

These three steps are my call to action for each of you. Make it a priority to put your leadership development first, find a mentor to help you. Make a difference in your organization by focusing on meeting your customer’s needs and assess your results and outcomes. Grow and develop a leadership style all your own; adjust your style to fit into your organizational culture.



  1. Focus on your own personal growth and development as a leader – find a mentor

  2. Raise the value proposition in your organization by focusing on the customer first; produce quality results and outcomes

  3. Adjust your leadership style accordingly to your team/stakeholders; Are your teams a mix of GenZ, Millennials, GenXers, Boomers or Traditionalists?



Good project managers don’t become “great” overnight; they work at their success daily. It is said that the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.


Be a STAR – Self starter, taking action, right now!



Naomi Caietti engages with global project management communities on topics of leadership as an author, speaker, editorial board member, community manager, and blogger through PMI Career Central, gantthead.com, Linked In, Twitter and [email protected].

She is a consultant and enterprise architect with 26+ years of private and public information technology project leadership experience.

Among, her other experiences, Naomi has served on PMI-SVC Board of Directors and held other leadership roles for PMI Global Operations Center (GOC) at the local, regional and global level for a Component, Special and Leadership Interest Group (LIAG/SIG), and other Member Advisory Groups (MAG).
She lives in Northern California and enjoys outdoor activities with her family and her two beloved dogs; Brownie and Biskit.

Listen. Empower. Adapt. Dream … LEAD
For more information, copies of my slides presentation and helpful resources, visit the Leadership GIG or my blog on gantthead.com or you can connect with me on Linked In and follow me on twitter @califgirl232.

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