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How Leadership is Important In Program Management?

How Leadership is Important In Program Management?

Project managers may be one of the most sought-after jobs in the business industry because of the benefits and higher rate salary and not to mention an opportunity to handle small to large projects. But not everyone wanted to be a project manager—rather they prefer to be a program manager; almost the same benefit, but has a separate role altogether.

Besides the project manager being mistaken as a program manager, another misconception that the key roles of the project manager and program manager are exactly the same, so there’s no need to do an elaborate comparison about it. Yes, both require exceptional traits and skills of an ideal leader, but based on their separate job descriptions, they have different roles to fill.

First off, let us describe program management in its basic sense. It is a task where a group of projects is managed in order to acquire benefits that align the organizational goals. The program may consist of components of related tasks outside the project’s reach in the program.



In other words, a program manager has a different set of skills and tasks they need to fulfill—tasks that don’t quite exist in a project manager’s job description.


Sole Responsibilities of a Program Manager

The program managers have three specific main tasks that they need to carry out during project and different related operations. These are program governance, benefits management, and stakeholder management. These three crucial factors are used by program managers to effectively manage the projects within the program and set standard methods and processes to achieve the expected benefits.



The way program managers lead their team is very important and significant to the success of the task and the organization as a whole. A team member needs a leader because, without a program manager to lead them, all the foundations will likely collapse so are the tasks that they are working hard on. It’s like building a  house—it won’t stand if you don’t set up the foundation first.

They are not different when it comes to leadership. People have a different perspective when it comes to their ideal leader and most of them simply share the same conclusion; they want leaders who listen, who want team members to grow and develop their skills and are always willing to listen to suggestions and new ideas.

Hence, the working environment and relationship are crucial for team members to be able to focus on their task and help each other fulfill the objectives at hand. Half of the employees walk out of their jobs even the pay is good because they cannot stay for too long in a toxic environment riddled with office politics. Such negative factors greatly affect an employee’s performance and this, in turn, will lead them to lose motivation in their job. Program managers, as leaders, need to prevent that from happening and maintain a healthy relationship and a great sense of teamwork from one another.

Program managers can extend their leadership skills to their three main tasks to effectively implement them and deliver the necessary goal and benefit.


Program Governance

Program managers should lead the team to adhere to the following governance methods that exist in their task; this includes managing the process of project and program schedules, individual tasks, and funds. For this to be possible, leaders need to set an example, and at the same time communicate with the teams the governance processes that are involved in the program. Let them understand what they are in for and why such governance processes should be followed and implemented.


Benefit Management

Benefit management is an identification and realization of benefits that will be delivered to the stakeholders. These benefits need to align with the organizational objective; this is where program managers start to play their role in the process.

Once they align the beneficial factor, they need to understand and identify the factors that trigger such benefits and the risks involved. As leaders, They need to set up a meeting with their team members in regards to gaining benefits and the process and tasks involved with it. Risks and issues should also be brought up in the open and the program managers’ team members devise a solution to contain them.

The benefits don’t necessarily come out in the open once the plan is in motion. Usually, program managers predict or anticipate them in order to prepare the appropriate approaches. These should also be for the team member’s information. Leaders need to keep team members aware of the serious ramifications of what happens when risks are left unchecked, the ground rules when utilizing resources and funds, and objective alignment.


Stakeholder Management

Stakeholders need to be in the same information spectrum since they still have the upper hand in regards to the project’s resources. Program managers do constant communication with stakeholders to ensure that they are on the same page and updates are being made.

There needs to be consistency involved in the part of the program manager; lacking this leadership quality can cause a negative impact on the stakeholders and they might have second thoughts in putting you in charge to implement the project. Program managers also must be alert at all times and have the full knowledge of the project when stakeholders start throwing related questions on their end.

Then comes the leadership part; don’t keep your team members in the dark. Distribute necessary information and let everyone know what the stakeholder wants and when they want it. Keeping your members within the deadline means you have to shake things up a bit and nudge them to expedite the tasks assigned to them. Refrain from being too pushy and barking orders—this is why it’s always emphasized in previous articles that you need to identify your team members’ skills and capabilities so you can assign them to tasks that mirror their expertise. This is a big impact in completing the project—you won’t end up wasting precious time choosing the wrong people for the job.


Above all, an effective leader or program manager must also keep in mind to encourage their team members to dig their best despite the time constraints and unforeseen changes that are happening in the task. Communicate with each other regularly and always listen to what they have to say. As a leader, you should be open to giving your team members a chance to let their voices be heard.




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About The Author

Management Square

Management Square is a service provider company specializing in Strategy Execution, Business Transformation, and Portfolio, Program and Project Management. Our mission is to create high quality trainings through professional excellence, and to provide a consultancy of choice through extensive learning experiences.


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