Project team leaders need to deploy suitable and adaptive leadership to maintain high effectiveness of the project, and the eventual best project performance. However, today’s globalisation business environment and information technology push leaders to face more challenges to leadership and project performance management.
The purpose of this research is to discuss how leadership influences project performance. This study deployed qualitative secondary research combined with Grounded Theory to review, discuss, and adjust current models. A key finding of this study is that transformational leadership is advantageous in improving project performance. The main reason behind such phenomenon was that transformational leadership coped with characteristics of projects, temporariness, diversified staff and time limits. This dissertation discovers the profile of a successful project leader contains the ability to: 1) Lead by example, 2) Be visionary, 3) Be technically competent, 4) Be decisive, 5) Be a good communicator, 6) Be a good motivator,7) Stand up to top management when necessary, 8) Support team members, and 9) Encourage new ideas. Cultural issues also challenge leadership. Chinese leadership demonstrated self-contradictory mix of paternalistic leadership style with the combination of servant leadership and transactional leadership, while holding the spirit of transformational leadership.