There are many approaches to leadership and the jury is still out on which philosophy generates the best results. I was talking with a colleague some time ago about preferences in leading. We got into a side discussion on how leadership applies to project management. One specific question was whether it is better for a project manager to exhibit leadership by leading the charge as a war leader in times past might do, or if it is better to be in back like a captain who stays behind to protect the ship?

If we consider the various scenarios of challenges that the PM encounters I suspect we might come to a conclusion that there is no good answer to the question.  Sometimes the only way to motivate followers is to jump in front and lead by example.  Other situations call for the leader to stay behind to protect the back of the lines.  As I look at my leadership style I find myself jumping between the two preferences. The leadership position and skill is shaped by the specific circumstances and team dynamics.