Team Leader vs Project Manager

The frontier between Kingdom of The Project Manager and Republic of the Team Leader is subtle and, too often, unexplored.

Projects will need planning on the short term to keep them within the company’s strategy, and will need several sorts of management on the mid-term.

On the other hand, teams, specially unexperienced ones, will need a guide on a daily basis to assure everyone is working at full efficiency.

“[Project Manager’s] job is not to advocate for the project, but to be objective […] and determine what is working, what needs improving, and what must be jettisoned. This takes the project manager out of the role of managing a project team and into the frontier of leading both the team and the stakeholders.” (American Management Association Play book, T.Williams)

If both roles have to be played by different people, chances are this people will conflict in several areas. This is my mental image to keep the whole relationship consistent.
Cyclops as Team Leader of the X Men

Cyclops, as the Team Leader for the X Men, is a primum inter pares, respected for his experience and capable of making the team working together to conquer goals far beyond the isolated powers of each one. He is always in the battlefield with the team and will command when needed.

Charles Xavier as Project Ma

Professor X, as the Project Manager, have to have many things in his brain. Both from within the team and from the environment. Interferences from other organizations or from the government. The competition’s master plan. Legal issues and long term goals. And of course, taking care of his team, potentiating it as a group, providing it with the tools they need, and keeping them in the right mid term direction.


Related: What superheroes teach us about diversity in teams.

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One thought on “Team Leader vs Project Manager

  1. Pingback: Quotes on power and responsibility | project shepherding

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