Leading Complex Projects: How Do You Compare to Successful Leaders?

Download brochure

Learn to lead through complexity and assess how your individual leadership traits compare to the best leaders in the capital project world.

Course Summary

Leadership is one of the most influential factors in determining the success or failure of large, complex capital projects. Because complex projects fail more than twice as often as smaller capital projects, strong project leadership is non-negotiable. Based on groundbreaking Independent Project Analysis (IPA) research, the Leading Complex Projects course unlocks project leadership skills that are statistically linked to success. Participants learn where they stand in comparison to strong project leaders in key areas such as communication, empathy, emotional intelligence, and more.

The pandemic magnified how critical leadership is for complex projects and situations. The way we work has changed for the foreseeable future, adding layers of complexity to the existing project delivery model. As the energy transition is in full swing and project leaders are in high demand, now is an opportune time for organizations and individuals alike to re-examine complex project leadership. Those who learn how to lead through complexity now stand to gain the most in the years to come.

Who Should Attend

This course is intended for those with at least 5 years of project management experience, including assignment to at least one complex or difficult project. Attendees should be knowledgeable about phased, stage-gated processes for project development and basic project concepts.

Format and Structure

This course features interactive class exercises and discussions, and can be delivered online or in-person. Prior to the course, participants are asked to complete a survey to gain insights into their own personality traits for comparison to those of successful leaders.

Key Benefits

  • Learn the traits and behaviors statistically linked to successful project leadership
  • Understand how your leadership traits compare to the most successful project leaders
  • Exchange experiences with other leaders currently facing similar challenges
  • Develop a personal action plan to continue building your leadership skills going forward


Defining Leadership

  • Introduction–Introductions between instructors and participants. Brief overview of the program design and tour of the virtual classroom. Discuss the definition of leadership.
  • The Need for Leadership–Define complexity and discuss leadership during a crisis. Discuss the concept of management versus leadership. Introduce the causal links between leadership and project results.

Qualities of Effective Leaders

  • Mindset & Experience–Examine the distinction between a generalist and a specialist mindset with regard to project leadership. Discover the types of early career experiences that can help shape successful leaders.
  • Personality and Emotional Intelligence–Learn how the Five Factor Model (Big 5) is used to measure personality and how the Emotional Intelligence Scale is used to determine how important emotional fluency is to complex project leadership. Compare your pre-course personality survey results to the traits statistically linked to successful leaders.
  • Leadership Tasks–Review how personality and emotional intelligence affects leaders’ behavior and day-to-day tasks.

Course Background

This course leverages IPA research that quantitatively links individual leadership characteristics to project outcomes. The results of this work enabled IPA to develop detailed profiles of the leadership attributes associated with success. This work is detailed in the book, Leading Complex Projects, written by IPA’s Edward Merrow and Neeraj Nandurdikar.

For More Information

Download the course brochure to view the course topics, key benefits, target audience, and course background.

Get more details

  • Read our Privacy Policy
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.