Brilliant Project Leader

What the best project leaders know, do and say to get results, every time

Mike Clayton

“This has the ability to greatly enhance your effectiveness and capability. It is a must read for all current or aspiring project leaders.”

Charles Vivian,
Head of Programme and Project Leadership, Qedis

Get the best from your team and your project

Whatever the project, and whoever is in your team, Brilliant Project Leader will show you how to make it a success. 

Packed with practical tips and insights from an experienced project manager who knows what works and what doesn’t, you’ll discover the inside secrets to deliver your project on budget and on time.

Brilliant Project Leader takes you through the project lifecycle, showing you how to engage and lead your team at each stage. 

You will learn how to understand the dynamics of your team, discover tools to help allocate work, and – more importantly – the ways to motivate, inspire and develop team members.

What Brilliant Project Leader will give You

Brilliant Project Leader takes you through the project lifecycle, showing you how to engage and lead your team at each stage.  It sets out the roles you can assign your team, tools to help allocate work, and – more important – the ways to motivate, inspire and develop team members.

Based on a twelve year career of leading project teams and delivering to time and budget, and then eight years of training project managers , the author combines practical tools, personal tips and psychological insights that will show you how to:

  • Engage your team from the very start
  • Harness the power of a diverse team
  • Delegate and build trust among your team members
  • Encourage open and honest communication
  • Get people to do what they promise to do
  • Monitor performance at the right level, stepping the line between micro-management and hands-off delinquency
  • Give great feedback that inspires and encourages
  • Build an environment of contribution, commitment and, ultimately, success

Whether your project is large or small, in the public, private or voluntary sector, Brilliant Project Leader will equip you to get the very best from your project team.

  • About the Author
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction

 Part 1:  The Four Essentials of Team Leadership

  • Chapter 1: You get the team you deserve
  • Chapter 2: Focus on Individuals
  • Chapter 3: Build and share a clear plan
  • Chapter 4: Foster a true sense of team spirit
  • Chapter 5: Communicate relentlessly – and well

 Part 2: Leading your Project Team at each Stage of the Project

  • Chapter 6: Project Definition Stage
  • Chapter 7: Project Planning Stage
  • Chapter 8: Project Delivery Stage
  • Chapter 9: Project Closure Stage

 Part 3:  Project Team Leadership in Tough Times

  • Chapter 10: Tough Times: Meeting Resistance
  • Chapter 11: Tough Times: Up against it
  • Chapter 12:  Tough Times: Tough Leader


  • To Lead: Some Closing Remarks
  • Glossary of Project Management Terms


From Samad Aidane
IT Project Manager and founder of Project Management Teleseminars

“Mike believes that “in tough times, project management is not enough. People get scared and uncertain and need leadership to keep them working effectively”.

While there is a book called Brilliant Project Management, its focus is primarily on project management basics. Brilliant Project Leader focuses more on the human side of project management recognizing that systems, processes and procedures and even to some extent methodologies, while essential, are not sufficient to deliver successful projects.

I found this book packed with leadership tools and insight that have clearly been proven in the real world and are clearly informed by research from various fields such as psychology, social science and our understanding of how the brain works.

The book provides essential leadership skills for each stage of the project which is something that I have find unique. Mike dedicates the last section to leadership skills in tough times. The tools and insights here will help project managers cut through the uncertainty and confusion that they often experience on complex and challenging projects.

I highly recommend Brilliant Project Leader: What the best project leaders know do and say to get results every time.”

Full review on Amazon

From Charles Vivian
Charles Vivian, Head of Programme and Project Leadership, Qedis

“As with all Mike’s books, this provides a clear, concise and practical guide to project leadership.  This book has the ability to greatly enhance your effectiveness and capability as a project leader either through a few hours of reading or as a career reference guide.  It is a must read for all current or aspiring project leaders.”

From Allan E. Dean
PMO Consulting Leader & Engagement Manager at CompuCom

“Highly readable with a great voice and sentiment – PMO’s and PPM’s will make this required reading because Mike has assembled a career’s worth of project leadership lessons and gives them away (e.g. purpose and strategy plus tactics you can use right now).

Mike teaches PM’s how to lead and further conveys how project choices and leadership style make or break a PM’s career.  There are gems that get only a blurb because others command checklists and pages of valuable, situational lessons and insights.  Read it carefully – because even the basics Mike mentions casually actually are hard lessons learned and deserving of entire presentations to drive the value of each point home.  Even better for PM’s everywhere is that Mike’s book frames it all in the most relevant context dear to all of us – project delivery.

Read this one, practice what you learn – and you’ll get a jump start on a fantastic career and a portfolio of successful projects under your belt.”

Full review on Al’s blog, PM Knowledge Transfer

From David Cliff
Review on *****

"This is a great book for anyone wanting to enhance and improve their project leadership and management skills.

Unlike others on the market, it is highly readable and clear, with a focus upon practical advice that will reap dividends right away.

I highly recommend this book."

From Amazon Customer
Review on *****

"I found this to be a really good read and written in a way that is easy to read.

Mike takes you through all of the various levels of running a project and importantly speaks a lot about interacting with people and making the best out of them.

The concepts are easy to grasp - Mike writes very much like his speaking style which to is easy to relate too.

I found that this book has helped me in my day to day project management for work and has made me look at the world a little bit differently and ask extra questions of myself, the way I organize projects and the team that work with me.

I would recommend this to anyone who is a project manager."

The Whole Book

Hear Mike’s wide ranging interview about Brilliant Project Leader,
conducted by Samad Aidane on Samad’s Guerrilla Project Management website.

Chapter 2: Focus on Individuals


Chapter 4: Foster a True Sense of Team Spirit

A brilliant example in this chapter offers team names chosen by contestants in the
TV series The Apprentice
, both in the UK and US.  I challenge readers to guess
which were chosen by men’s teams and which by women, and which come from
the US show and which from the UK.  If you want to see the answers, click here.


Chapter 5: Communicate Relentlessly – and well


Chapter 7: Project Planning Stage


For more on project risk Management, look at my Risk Happens! page.  Here you can download the resources I have developed to accompany Risk Happens! Managing Risk and Avoiding Failure in Business Projects.  These include templates for:

Chapter 8: Project Delivery Stage


Chapter 9: Project Closure Stage


Chapter 12: Tough Times: Tough Leader

Read Mike’s interview about resilience, with Elizabeth Harrin of
“A Girl’s Guide to Project Management” on the TalkingWork site:
Becoming more resilient: interview with Mike Clayton“.


Full Set of editable Word-format Project Management Templates

Project Management Templates v3-1 This file is a set of 24 copyright-free project management templates that I have developed over a period of time.  They are not linked explicitly to any of my books, but are of course, consistent with the thinking in all of them.  These templates are in Word format and I assert no copyright, so you are free to adapt and edit them for your own use, and brand them for your own organisation or project.

All that I ask is that, if you do pass them on, either you acknowledge that you got them from me, or you pass them on exactly as you received them, with this statement and the footers intact.


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