Book Review: The Power of Project Leadership

Jen Morrisey | November 21, 2019

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I just finished the last chapter of Susanne Madsen’s piece on The Power of Project Leadership (2nd edition). I closed her exceptional book completely inspired and itching to get a copy in the hands of both LiquidPlanner employees and our customers. I’ve been a longtime student of both Project Management and of researchers like Brené Brown, who explore emotional intelligence with leadership. For me, The Power of Project Leadership is where these two worlds combine in the most impactful of ways!  

In Susanne’s book, 2018 PMI research shows that only 52% of projects finish on time, only 69% meet their business objectives, and, for every $1 billion spent, organizations are losing $97 million. These statistics are bleak. But, even worse, they sound all too familiar. Despite continuous improvement in Project Management processes and technology over the past few decades, projects are still not being delivered on time, to scope, or within budget. 

So, how can Project Managers overcome these odds? Susanne asserts that we must do this through the expansion of our project leadership skills. It’s no longer enough to manage the intricacies of our projects (no matter how strong our processes or intellect). Workplace climates are heavy with uncertainty, continuous change, and the pressure to do more with less. We must inspire our project teams and create a clear environment where they are enabled to do their best work. This is the way to foster needed efficiency, speed, and innovation!

The Power of Project Leadership is an excellent book on leadership in general. Through 7 Keys to Project Leadership, it covers the most critical aspects of leadership in a way that is thought-provoking for both aspiring and seasoned leaders. It deeply explores the power of vulnerability, the importance of trust, listening, and authenticity. It encourages you first to evaluate, then challenge your own belief and thought patterns that may be holding you back from truly leading. And, what I appreciated greatly, is that it provides the reader with tangible tools and exercises to transform from a Project Manager to Project Leader!

The Power of Project Leadership brilliantly brings in and connects theories from psychology-based studies, PMI research, quotes from thought leaders, models, and more. From MIT and Google’s research on high performing teams to Einstein quotes, to yin and yang models, Susanne solidifies her points on the importance of emotional intelligence in the project management space to drive understanding home.

Project Managers battle through complex environments daily. This book provides actionable guidance on how to motivate project teams, set and meet stakeholder expectations, and bring needed efficiency to project planning. The importance of soft skills and inspiring leadership in the space are underestimated, and this book sheds light on how much power they have to change the tide of Project Management. Susanne starts and ends her book with a motivating statement, and I’ll do the same with this blog:

 “The world needs your genius, and it needs your leadership!”

PS – It is of no surprise to me that Susanne Madsen won the Project Management Literature Award for the PMIs award this month. Congratulations!

 

Susanne Madsen is an internationally recognized project leadership coach, trainer, and consultant. She is the author of The Power of Project Leadership and The Project Management Coaching Workbook. Working with organizations across the globe she delivers leadership development programs and executive coaching to help project and change managers step up and become better leaders.

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