How To Be Taken Seriously As A Project Manager

by Elise Stevens | Futureproof Your Career Podcast

If anyone knows about the challenges of being taken seriously as a Project Manager, it’s Elizabeth Harrin. After noticing how few women were writing and speaking about the topic, she realised that Project Management desperately needed a female perspective. Her goal of women being recognised as active players in 21st Century Project Management led her to create her blog – A Girl’s Guide to Project Management, where she offers Project Management news, opinion and coverage.

Elizabeth recognises that Project Managers often aren’t taken seriously by the project stakeholders, sponsors or the team they’re leading. She believes that part of it is due to the nature of the job itself, where Project Managers have to get their thoughts across as leaders in matrix environments where nobody is obligated to report to them, and they have no authority beyond the piece of paper stating that they’ve been granted it by project sponsor. This is an uncomfortable position to be in!

She admits that it’s something younger Project Managers often struggle with, as they’re new to the role and need to make a good impression while cultivating gravitas with senior individuals.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • When Project Managers leave a place with processes for one without any, it can be challenging.
  • Sometimes it’s the concept of Project Management itself that isn’t taken seriously or on the radar.
  • Many organisations profess that they love change, but in actual fact often resist it.
  • It’s common for Project Managers to feel like they’re one person fighting against years of culture.
  • Its easier when you’re supported by Senior Executives as the implied authority cascades down.
  • Sometimes the danger is that you don’t realise you aren’t been taken seriously.
  • Project Managers must have strategies in place to be self-aware and create feedback loops.
  • You need to counterbalance being yourself within a frame of reference where you’re taken seriously.
  • Talk to your manager or mentor for industry-specific advice.

About Elizabeth Harrin:

Elizabeth Harrin is an award-winning blogger and influencer who founded A Girl’s Guide To Project Management over a decade ago. She currently is works as a Healthcare Project Manager in the UK, along with running her own business and writing and consulting Project Management, with a focus on stakeholder engagement, communications and collaboration.

Find Elizabeth online at or on LinkedIn here.