Project Leadership


Certificate Overview

  • 3 month duration
  • 6 two-week courses
  • 5-7 hours a week

Project leaders are more than just project managers; they possess a highly desirable blend of technical prowess and leadership skills to drive optimum project performance. In order to build a high-performing project team, you need to harness the collective intelligence of the group and exercise influence—with or without authority—as you oversee the project to completion. Leadership and interpersonal communication skills are the key to optimum group performance.

This six-course online certificate series, authored by faculty from Cornell University’s College of Engineering, is designed to build the critical leadership skills that Project Management Professionals (PMPs), project managers, and business managers need to lead a project team. The courses in this certificate series integrate collaborative group projects, practical case studies and interactive project assessments.

  • Utilize management/leadership research and theory to define a set of key success factors and behaviors for the project manager
  • Discuss challenges facing project teams and explain the role of the project manager in overcoming these challenges
  • Analyze project teams for potential conflict resulting from cultural, functional, personality-related, or learning-style differences and minimize the negative effects that differences have on a project team
  • Create accurate forecasts to communicate time and budget required for project completion
  • Apply best practices in coaching and development situations
  • Develop an understanding of organizations as political systems
  • Describe the basic types of strategies for exercising influence; develop an understanding of the conditions that would make each appropriate; and build skill in applying those strategies to a variety of influence opportunities
  • Project Management Professionals (PMPs)
  • Project managers
  • Functional managers
  • Business leaders at all levels who are responsible for leading cross-functional or project teams to success

Faculty Author

Frank Wayno

Certificate Courses

Become a project leader and learn how to apply leadership skills to minimize uncertainty and maximize the contributions of your team.

Course Description

A seasoned, successful project leader is both a master of process and an effective people manager. Project leadership requires the ability to make tough decisions, overcome personnel issues and to exercise authority where needed--all while dealing with technical challenges and the restraints of time and cost.

This course defines the functional role of a project manager and provides a framework for the development process, from brainstorm through to production. To be successful you need to balance technical expertise with a firm grasp on team dynamics and interpersonal relationships.

This course is beneficial to Project Management Professionals (PMPs) who seek greater responsibility in leading projects and setting up broad organizational initiatives. Regardless of your formal role in project management, you'll develop leadership skills to become a better project manager and successful leader.

This course has been approved for 6.0 Professional Development Units (PDUs) from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Learn how to leverage a team's collective intelligence by promoting cohesion and cooperation. Manage the human challenges of building a motivated, productive team that is invested in seeing a project through to successful completion.

Course Description

A work team's real potential for success lies in its "collective intelligence": the sum of a workgroup's individual skills, behaviors and competencies. The more integrity a team has, the better positioned it is to handle uncertainty and see a project through to successful completion. It's role of the the project leader role to create a work environment where a group's collective intelligence can be leveraged to the greatest effect.

This course introduces research-grounded theories behind group dynamics and teaches how to create and maintain group cohesion. Learn to facilitate group problem-solving, and manage the most common challenges to effective group functioning, including a lack of cohesion, the onset of groupthink, and dealing with virtual teams.

Project leaders who have the theoretical and practical knowledge to identify and capitalize on a group's collective intelligence tend to be the most successful at achieving desired outcomes.

This course has been approved for 6.5 Professional Development Units (PDUs) from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Understand how difference and diversity can benefit or fragment a project team. Learn how individual characteristics and apparent contrasts can actually be leveraged to profound effect.

Course Description

Difference and diversity can strengthen a group's collective skills and competencies, but can also lead to dysfunction if not properly managed. The best project leaders take potentially fragmentary elements within a group and use them to their advantage. Overcoming differences and knowing how to manage the collective intelligence of a group can make for a highly effective project team.

This course focuses on the three main areas of difference—national and functional culture, personality, and learning style—and how different perspectives can create misunderstanding and misalignment within a project team. You'll work with a variety of organizational frameworks and toolsets designed to bridge differences and develop processes to overcome disconnect, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Properly managing collective intelligence and dealing with difference are two key skills associated with a high-functioning project leader. This course will teach you how to develop and master those skills.

This course has been approved for 6.0 Professional Development Units (PDUs) from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Learn how to monitor and control the performance of projects, teams, and individuals to ensure the successful completion of project objectives.

Course Description

How do know precisely whether or not a project is on the path to success if you don't have any benchmarking tools in place? This course introduces you to several powerful performance metrics and analytical tools that can help you determine whether project goals and objectives are being met.

You'll learn how to use Earned Value Management, a highly effective project control system that uses measurement tools like breakdown structures, network diagrams, schedules, budgets, and Gantt charts to ensure that things are on track. Your ability to report on progress and project status will greatly impact your reputation as a project leader.

If a project falls off target, the project leader is responsible for maintaining a tight focus on tasks that add to the value of a project, and establishing a framework for keeping team members and other stakeholders aligned with project objectives.

This course is anticipated to be approved for approximately 6.0 Professional Development Units (PDUs) from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Get projects accomplished by assessing and asserting your personal political power. Maximize your ability to exercise influence without authority.

Course Description

Workplaces are inherently political. Project leadership can be an especially political endeavor; it's about exercising influence over others to complete tasks and accomplish goals, with or without the formal authority to mandate action. Whether you work in a matrix organization or lead a cross-functional team, your goal as a project leader is to organize the actions of your team members to ensure the successful completion of a project.

Project leaders spend a considerable amount of time building networks and relationships among stakeholders and influencers. Learn how to apply your interpersonal and leadership skills and strike a balance between your sometimes conflicting role as individual contributor, functional manager, and project manager.

This course introduces you to the Power Motivation Inventory, a diagnostic self-inventory model that will assess your capabilities as an influence agent and prepare you to leverage your abilities to great effect. The ability to exercise influence without authority is among most important attributes of a project leader.

This course has been approved for 6.0 Professional Development Units (PDUs) from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Learn how to resolve conflict without eliminating the creative tension that so often benefits high-performing organizations. Manage interpersonal conflicts to ensure harmony and productivity in the workforce.

Course Description

Conflict is inevitable. The best project leaders have a well-developed capacity for managing and resolving conflict.

Conflict can come from any number of directions: project complexity, misaligned stakeholders, diverse team members, scarcity of resources, and matrix organizational structures—which, by definition, place two sets of managerial values and priorities into tension with each other.

This course focuses on the approaches that a leader can use to resolve conflict. Participants will assess their own response to conflict using the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument to determine which approaches are most consistent with their own profile or appropriate to specific situations.

Principled negotiation, an interest-based technique popularized in the best-selling book Getting To Yes, provides a framework to separate people from problems, focus on their interests and generate and evaluate options. As you emerge from the course you'll be able to diagnose and resolve conflict in a manner that enhances team cohesiveness and improves the likelihood of successful results.

This course has been approved for 6.0 Professional Development Units (PDUs) from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Alumni Testimonial

What stood out for me was the focus on the human aspects of project management, that people are the driving force that determine project failure or success. I have found new and better ways to work with stakeholders that have resulted in productive, positive experiences and successful outcomes.
Karen S.
Sr. Manager, Strategy & Development