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Leadership and Project Management

By Khaitsa Wasiyo

There are projects all around you, whether it be in the products that you are using, or in the results or outcomes that you are experiencing during your time at work or at home. A project is a temporary endeavor involving a sequence of activities that require a dedicated amount of time, resources, knowledge and skill in order to bring about the expected results. Thriving organizations often look for ways to benefit from new trends, governmental regulations, opportunities or developments in knowledge and technology. This often prompts organizations to create new products or services that are strategic in providing a competitive advantage.

A project is not only a way for organizations to achieve strategic goals, but also a means for creating different and unique groups of resources that are needed in order to achieve a particular outcome. In every project, skills and knowledge are very important to accomplishing an activity. Therefore, a project brings together personnel with different skill sets that carry out their specific roles and responsibilities as a project team.

A project manager is accountable for facilitating interactions and activities that produce a project plan. Project managers typically handle project integration and, in collaboration with their team members, take actions related to the management of the project work, time, cost and quality. They also lead discussions and manage tasks related to communications, risks and procurements. In all these activities, the project leaders and team members are trained to engage and consider the stakeholders involved.

Stakeholders are comprised of anyone who will be impacted by the changes that come about from completing the project. Knowing how to engage them and how to gain their support and buy in is a key aspect of leadership and project management. All organizations benefit from having professionals or leaders with the ability to engage various stakeholders in defining the key outcomes of any endeavor.

It takes specific training to know how to motivate teams to produce sustainable business results. A typical project involves diverse and cross-functional personnel with unique skills all working together (frequently on a temporary basis) to cause a change that will impact the organization. Projects often involve several functional divisions within an organization and sometimes they include one or more entirely different organizations. A degree in organizational leadership prepares students to not only lead and manage change, but to work with various people, virtually or face-to-face, in teams across cultures and time zones.

Change is inevitable. However, managing organizational change, in which the typical structures and process of a business are improved or re-engineered to achieve strategic goals, requires knowledge and skill in handling an organization’s resources, procedures, practices and assets. A graduate program in organizational leadership prepares professionals to effectively support people in changing their behaviors and in handling the psychological and structural aspects of leading change across the organization. This not only takes communication skills, but a range of management skills and knowledge that is acquired through a Master’s in Organizational Leadership.

By thinking of a project as a change effort, it is easier to see that organizational leaders use project activities to accomplish larger business objectives. Due to the nature of projects, a change in any aspect of the project has a chain reaction effect on the project scope, schedule or budget, all which impact business goals (PMI, 2013). In order to be successful in a project, project leaders take time to consider the impact and implications of a change by predicting and taking into account various scenarios during the planning phase of the project. An organizational leadership program equips you with the skills and knowledge for being effective in working with others to consider the best approaches to achieving organizational results.

In Manhattan College’s online graduate program in organizational leadership, you will learn to lead organizations through various changes, and most importantly, you will get hands-on practice in having the conversations that move you forward as you apply the knowledge and skills needed to communicate and manage organizational change. You are exposed to all aspects of organizational leadership – from the fundamentals of leadership to leading across cultures, measuring performance, creating a learning organization, dealing with ethics and spirituality and collaborative project management.

Projects are indeed everywhere and successful projects involved a team that collaborated and a leader that saw opportunity for the project and made the necessary decisions over time to initiate, execute, monitor and track the project to the very end.

To learn more about this program, click here or call (855) 841-2843 to speak with the Admissions office.

Project Management Institute. (2013). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK® guide) (5th ed.).
Meredith, J. & Mantel, S., (2013). Project management in practice

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