Effective project management relies on a healthy foundation of project management leadership. With so many moving parts and often large numbers of team members with diverse professional backgrounds, strong leadership plays an essential role in moving the workflow in the right direction. 

Adding project management leaders to your project management team can be the difference-maker in achieving a highly productive and happy work environment.

Simplilearn's PMP Certification makes it easy to begin your career as a Project management professional. Enroll now to get started.

Though often mistaken for project managers, project management leaders hold an essential role within an organization. Much like project management officers and project coordinators' roles, project leaders work in conjunction with project managers to ensure goals are met.

Let’s take a closer look at a project leader's responsibilities, required skills, and salary expectations for 2021 and beyond.

Project Management Leader Overview

It’s easy to confuse project leaders with project managers. Depending on organizational structure, managers' and leaders' roles and responsibilities may overlap to some extent. 

Regardless, there’s a key difference between the two roles. While project managers are focused on the bigger picture — project deadlines, managing schedules, and progress reports — project leaders are on the ground motivating the project’s team. 

An expert within their field, a project leader can effectively make plans that support project goals and lead their team to perform efficiently. An exceptional project leader is receptive to the feelings of their team members. They work diligently to keep their team engaged, motivated, and focused on the task at hand. 

A successful project manager will inspire their team, encourage creativity, and foster a collaborative work environment to exceed project goals.

Project Leader Roles & Responsibilities

A project leader’s responsibilities will vary based on the company, industry, and even project management role structure. Here are some common responsibilities:

  • Work with departmental heads, managers, and other stakeholders to develop team goals and delegate tasks to the appropriate team member
  • Develop team schedules and assist in the successful onboarding and training of team members
  • Create and communicate a clear list of expectations and goals for team members to follow
  • Offer emotional support to project team members and make people feel valued
  • Maintain frequent communication to offer encouragement, amend tasks, and provide updates on goal progress
  • Implement incentives to keep the team motivated and focused on their daily tasks project goals
  • Provide frequent feedback on employee performance, address weaknesses or inefficiencies, and offer support to improve skill gaps
  • Nurture collaboration amongst team members
  • Create a workspace that encourages creativity and innovation to get the most out of the team
  • Quickly and effectively resolve team conflicts
  • Write project reports as necessary
  • Reward team members for their continued efforts and celebrate accomplishments

Project Leader Skills

A project management leader has a unique set of skills that provide the tools needed to lead their team successfully. Required hard skills will be specific to the industry and may include project management platforms, industry knowledge, or relevant licensing.

There are, however, a number of soft skills that help with a project leader’s responsibilities, including the following:

Team Management

The bulk of a project leader’s responsibilities rely on effectively managing their team. To achieve project goals, leaders must establish a team of individuals with the right skill sets and encourage collaboration. Successful team management involves teamwork, goal setting, and regular performance reviews.


Strong communication is an essential project management leader skill. To effectively convey ideas, or direct a team of employees, leaders should promote and facilitate communication. 


Project leaders should be focused on actively listening to their team. Understand team members’ concerns and feedback and work to rectify any issues to avoid disruptions to productivity. 

Conflict Resolution

When a diverse group of individuals work within close proximity, conflict is often inevitable. However, nothing quite hinders productivity than team friction. Project leaders must swiftly recognize emerging conflicts and work to de-escalate any tension or disputes among team members. A work environment should be harmonious for all team members to thrive.

Team Leadership

The position title of project leader is one major indicator that leadership is the most critical skill required for success in the role. Project management leaders must work without biases to ensure all team members are treated equally. Leadership requires a combination of conflict resolution, team management, and communication. Set goals that are in line with project requirements and provide the team with the necessary tools to achieve them.


Strong organizational skills are crucial to creating and keeping deadlines, delegating tasks, and making effective schedules for their team.

Critical Thinking

Finding creative solutions, anticipating potential roadblocks in productivity, and overcoming obstacles are typical challenges faced by project leaders. A good project leader possesses strong critical thinking skills that empower them to achieve success no matter the situation.

Time Management

Although primarily focused on leading their teams, there are still deadlines that project leaders must ensure are met. Project management leaders must understand the capabilities and skill levels of the team and strong time management skills to ensure all tasks are completed efficiently.

Project Leader Salary

A project leader salary can range from $49,000 to $120,000 annually with an average annual salary of $81,756.

In addition to the salary, additional compensation may include annual bonuses and options for profit sharing. Common health benefits may include medical, dental, and vision.

Choose the Right Program

Level up your project management skills with Simplilearn's comprehensive courses. Gain practical knowledge, industry insights, and globally recognized certifications. Take charge of your career and achieve project success with Simplilearn!

Program Name

PMP® Certification Training Course

PMP Plus

Post Graduate Program In Project Management

Geo All Geos All Geos All Geos
University PMI Simplilearn University of Massachusetts Amherst
Course Duration 90 Days of Flexible Access to Online Classes

36 Months 6 Months
Coding experience reqd No No No
Skills you wll learn 8+ PM skills including Work Breakdown Structure, Gantt Charts, Resource Allocation, Leadership and more. 6 courses including Project Management, Agile Scrum Master, Implementing a PMO, and More 9+ skills including
Project Management, Quality Management, Agile Management, Design Thinking and More.
Additional Benefits Experiential learning through case studies
Global Teaching Assistance
Learn by working on real-world problems
24x7 Learning support from mentors
Earn 60+ PDU’s
3 year course access
Cost $$ $$$$ $$$$
Explore Program Explore Program Explore Program

Train to Become a Project Leader Today

Become a digital-age project leader with Simplilearn’s Post Graduate Program in Project Management in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Created in alignment with the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification, you’ll learn the frameworks, tools, and skills to drive transformative projects.

The course focuses on quality and risk management, delivering the best results, understanding strategy, and implementing best practices in any project.

Our Project Management Courses Duration And Fees

Project Management Courses typically range from a few weeks to several months, with fees varying based on program and institution.

Program NameDurationFees
Post Graduate Program in Project Management

Cohort Starts: 24 Aug, 2024

6 months$ 3,000
PMP® Plus36 Months$ 1,849