Project Manager vs Project Leader
Project Manager and Project Leader are two roles increasingly becoming popular in the corporate world. In the corporate world today, increasing attention is being paid to leadership attributes and managers are hired keeping this attribute in mind. As such, the terms project manager and project leader are getting somewhat blurred. People have started to use the terms leader and manager interchangeably to refer to people who are in the role of a leader. However, there is a significant difference between a project manager and a project leader which needs to be appreciated.
To answer this difference, there have been several attempts by authors of repute. Maxwell, in his 2005 book “The 360 degree leader” wrote that a manager works with processes while a leader works with people. Kotter went a step further when he wrote that manager is a person involved with planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, controlling and problem solving while a leader is a person involved with setting direction, aligning people, motivating and inspiring them. For Kotter, management and leadership are two distinct terms each having its own characteristics and functions. But for him, both a project manager and a project leader are essential in the ever changing and complex business environment.
Project leader is a person who leads a team and has been chosen to monitor and manage the lower level or technical details of the project. On the other hand, project manager is responsible for the entire project and normally does not have the technical expertise like a project leader. Project leader is responsible towards a project manager and reports to him.
A project leader is focused on the internal side of a project and ensures that his team is working effectively and efficiently to finish the project on time. On the other hand, a project manager has his eyes set on the external side of the project. He makes sure that the project is not only completed in time but the finished product or service meets the requirements of the end customer.
It is the project leader that the project manager talks to keep track of the progress of the project. A project leader is paid less and has lesser authority or influence than a project manager.
• Project leader and project manager are two terms that confuse many as both have similar meanings
• Project leader is more technical in nature and has the responsibility to complete the project using his team efficiently and effectively. On the other hand a project manager has a broader role as he has to ensure that the finished project meets the needs and requirements of end customers
• Project leader is subordinate to project manager and also has lesser authority.