If World Leaders Penned Project Management Books…

Last updated on September 21, 2017


Leadership is best felt in normalcy. When administration is smooth, prices are predictable and lives are led peacefully… Needless to say, world leaders have unimaginable weight on their shoulders, striving for this normalcy and thus their political careers can be studied for professional and personal lessons too.

Closer home, nuances of project management can also be understood in a new light with world leaders for teachers. Peace, power, charisma, humility and courage are more than lessons in moral science. They are the fairy dust that makes good project leaders. So here’s our take on world leaders penning project management books and what they would teach managers and teams alike.

A colourful representation of world leaders

  1.  Barack Obama – “There is no Agility without Humility”

Known to be affable and modest despite his two-term presidency of the United States and worldwide popularity, Obama’s leadership testifies a rather underrated value – humility.

While referring to his time at the White House, he once remarked,“I actually found I became more humble the longer I was in office.” The resultant love and admiration he received only seem natural.

Humility, for managers, is often a driving factor to keep learning, remain unfazed when faced with failure and take success with a pinch of salt. Humility is the root that keeps wings of power in check. A leader full of himself/herself may be respected but is hardly ever loved.

  1.   Emmanuel Macron – “You cannot Create unless you Connect”

The youngest French head of state to be appointed ever since Napoleon Bonaparte, Emmanuel Macron’s rise to power makes for one of the most enriching studies of contemporary politics. Considering how his party is fairly new, it is all the more of a landmark victory. His charismatic communication of the vision he had drew the majority to him and he was always successful in engaging with the larger masses. When they saw him, they did not just see potential but they also foresaw future.

While the intricacies of the political situations during elections cannot be undermined, this connection he had deserves credit. An ability to connect with a team and get them to work towards a unified vision is therefore crucial for project managers to build a team with a group of people.  

  1. Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama – “Peace your Project Together”

Politics or spirituality, no matter how you look at his holiness, Tibetan Spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama’s teachings, you will find a certain calm transcend upon the mind. Known as the ‘ocean of compassion’, his stance on world politics and different issues remain consistent despite trying circumstances.

While practising such lofty ideals in our ordinary lives is quite impossible, compassion, nurturing a bond of respect and trust amongst teams are worth considering. When work culture is inclusive and takes into account of the fact that harmony makes room for good work, you will see that the different pieces of the project come together with new found vigour.

  1. Julia Gillard – “Courage has no Substitute”

Irrespective of what transpired during and after Julia Gillard’s term of office as the Prime Minister of Australia, her courage will always be remembered by those who follow world leaders. Despite criticisms, her rise to power and her strength of voice in the parliament were formidable. Known to beat gender stereotypes, she never minced her words while addressing misogyny and gender politics. Gillard’s resilience has been widely discussed by different media houses across the world.

Leaders and managers need to constantly be mindful of the fact that every little action they take can potentially have a long-term consequence. However, this should not be why you choose comfort over ethics. Courage to do the right thing and the courage to be true to yourself are virtues worth investing on.

A speaker addressing a crowd

  1. Angela Merkel – “Purpose is Power”

Leading from behind is never easy. Primarily known as Nelson Mandela’s style of leadership, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s style too is known for being able to give purpose power over everything else. Purpose brings people together and pushes them to take action. Acknowledging this is often the cumulative result of the aforementioned points.

Hard tasks, innovation and going beyond the call of duty is often inspired by the greater good. Let the project lead.

Did your favourite leader make it to the list? Write to us with your comments and share it with your friends on LinkedIn and Facebook!

Disclaimer: This article represents the editor’s point of view alone and does not reflect either the political interests of the company or those who work with it.


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Nityashree Yadunath

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