The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world

Agile Leadership

beautiful  girlAs with everything in life, there is never a one-size fits-all solution.  When it comes time to apply the ‘right” leadership style, simply remember this – there are advantages and disadvantages to each of the three styles previously introduced:  Transactional, Transformational and Quiet.

Transactional:  This is a very direct approach; the team will know exactly what is required of them and the implied consequences of failure.  It is best used to address short-term issues of performance.  This style does not do much to establish any leader/follower relationship built on trust or engagement.  It will likely stifle creativity, could reduce motivation and may lead to loss of loyalty over a period of time.

Transformational:  This approach is exciting, energizing and inclusive!  It helps boost morale and instill confidence in followers.    However, the natural high level of energy of transformational leaders can be very wearing for the follower when it is relentlessly applied.  Too much enthusiasm and confidence may be mistaken for truth and reality.

Quiet:  This style of leadership demonstrates concern for the thoughts and feelings of others.  A quiet leader is seen to be responsive to the needs of others and demonstrates that s/he is listening to what the team is saying.  Quiet leaders, however, may find their job harder when they are surrounded by extroverts.  By being too focused on peace and harmony this leader may develop a culture of “settling”.  They sometimes compromise unduly or just avoid conflict all together.

Leadership is diverse.  There is no one “right” leadership approach.  Be “agile” in your approach.

Lisa DiTullio, Principal, Your Project Office,


About the Author

Lisa is a leading force in project and business management. She is the founder of Your Project Office, a PMI©Registered Education Provider, and consulting practice dedicated to introducing project management as a business competency. She is the editor of ProjectBestPractices, a quarterly newsletter from ProjectWorld, and a contributor to PM Network Magazine. She's also the author of Simple Solutions: How "Enterprise Project Management" Supported Harvard Pilgrim Health Care's Journey from Near Collapse to #1 and Project Team Dynamics: Enhancing Performance, Improving Results. Scores of organizations – from college campuses to governmental agencies to Fortune 100 companies have gained from Lisa's insights and tell-it-like-it-is keynotes and programs. She offers a variety of topics, ranging from technical project management practices to teambuilding and business leadership. Audience members and workshop participants leave educated, engaged, and energized – armed with actionable practices for immediate success., e-mail
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