All project managers are not the same: out of the following four, what type do you belong to?
Basically, being a project manager consists of successfully carrying out projects by coordinating all the players concerned and implementing the necessary means to achieve the desired objectives. That said, each project manager has his own personality and management style. According to Thomas Ritter and Carsten Lund Pedersen of the Copenhagen Business School’s Department of Strategic Management and Globalization, there are four main types of project managers: the Prophet, the Gambler, the Expert and the Executor.
This type of project manager is constantly seeking business opportunities that go beyond existing strategic boundaries. In addition to enjoying going off the beaten track, he never supports his grandiose visions with reliable forecasts of achievement. The result? He often takes unnecessary risks. However, his capacity for innovation makes him an asset within a team.
Like the Prophet’s projects, those of the Gambler suffer from a lack of evidence of feasibility and profitability. However, they are within the existing strategic limits. In other words, where the Prophet seeks to invent a new game, the Gambler seeks opportunities for growth that respect the framework of the game. Of course, his way of operating is fraught with uncertainty and can lead to significant losses. Despite everything, the Gambler excels in updating outdated rules.
Unlike the first two types of project manager, the Expert provides solid quantitative data for all of his ideas. However, like the Prophet, he loves to think outside the box and present original projects. His main challenge is to convince his team of the necessity for a strategic change.
The Executor detests risk and uncertainty. As a result, he seeks business opportunities that respect existing strategies. What’s more, he makes sure to support each of them through rigorous analysis. While his realism and ability to deliver the goods can be appreciated, his weakness is offering only limited opportunities for growth since he is unable to see beyond what already exists.
Despite the potential conflicts between the four types (for example, a Prophet may consider an Executor as being excessively bureaucratic and rigid), Ritter and Pedersen believe that an organization wins by having project managers from each style. The important thing is to assign projects according to each one’s strengths.