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As featured on BusinessMirror: Major project leadership

It takes more than just bold vision, good planning and diligent execution to see a project to fruition. When it comes to major project management, clearly defining the roles between management and leadership can mean the difference between success and failure.

The lifeblood of any major project, managers undertake specific tasks and oversee parameters like timelines and budgets to ensure processes are on track. This includes facilitating efficient operations to meet project objectives by providing a purpose and direction that employees can trust.

Leaders, on the other hand, are the thread that binds a project together — inspiring teams, ensuring alignment in goals, and possessing the courage to implement and navigate change. They provide clarity of vision and ideas, empowering and guiding the team to realize their full potential.

One thing is certain — both management and leadership need to work in sync. Strong leadership at the top can spur collaboration, communication, and accountability and help assert the right level of authority needed for managers to ensure the smooth execution of goals.

KPMG in the Philippines Advisory – Management Consulting Partner Imelda H. Corros also shared the same principles citing, “Leadership must be a balance of authority and empathy. It should not be purely goals, goals and goals nor be just pure heart and emotions.” She explained that for a team to work efficiently, “there should be a leader who looks forward to successes and also genuinely cares about how the team members are doing.”

There may be those who excel at technical delivery but fall short on leading teams and there may be individuals who have a natural ability to guide teams but lack specialized knowledge in key areas. Corros further shared that 

Success requires that teams have complementary leadership where they are given means to utilize their respective crafts and discover their full potential.

Imelda H. Corros
Advisory – Management Consulting Partner

In this report, we examine the intrinsic relationship between both roles by defining the key characteristics they play in ensuring project management success. Key topics include:

Leading major projects

Managing large projects are almost similar to running a major organization. They have a clear set of goals, well-defined culture, cost considerations and operating frameworks aimed at bringing a specific vision to life. Ensuring project success means having leaders with specialized knowledge and experience to ensure success at every stage.

Cultivating leaders at all levels

Creating a culture of leadership across the organization means fostering ownership at every level—regardless of job scope. Putting in place mechanisms to help leaders share their skills and experiences can accelerate an organization’s vision and goals.

Creating a culture that leads

Transparency, accountability, and effective communication lie at the heart of strong leadership. Successful leaders can work with both internal and external stakeholders to ensure alignment of vision even in the face of evolving needs and demands.

Managing organizational change

Managing a major project requires a clear and defined leadership approach at every stage. From adapting to various project pressures to ensuring a smooth transition from one stage to another, leaders need to put in place strategic action plans and processes to keep the team on track to achieving success. 

Breaking down silos

Strong communication is the bedrock of any successful project. A clear communication line between leaders and managers ensures that team members are aligned on project deliverables and understand exactly what’s expected of them. That includes internal communication between project teams and boards as well as with external contractors, investors, and business partners.

Leadership describes several elements in major project delivery. All combined, it’s about establishing the culture, people, objectives, and controls that lead a project to its planned outcome. The worst time to find out a costly initiative has poor leadership is years down the road when it’s more costly to correct. That’s why leadership is one of the five pillars that organizations are compelled to get right in the beginning when time is on their side.

The excerpt was taken from the KPMG Thought Leadership publication: https://home.kpmg/.../2022/10/major-project-leadership.html