The 7 Archetypes of Influential Project Managers

Oct 03, 2023By Kyle Nitchen
Kyle Nitchen

Early in my career, I saw two types of project leaders.

Some were outstanding. They handled challenges easily, supported their teams, and always delivered. As a result, clients kept coming back.

Others struggled. They were often disorganized, faced constant issues, caused disputes, and were hard to work with, leading to unhappy clients.

This is what inspired the concept of ‘The Influential Project Manager’ newsletter.

This type of manager has both the technical know-how and the people skills. They lead well, get the best out of their teams, and deliver results.

After reflecting about the difference, it all boiled down to one thing - their behavior.


The Formula for Predictable Projects

To become a top-notch project manager and attain this level of predictability, you need to learn and practice seven key behavior patterns.

The seven archetypes are as follows:

  1. The Communicator

  2. The Enforcer
  3. The Builder

  4. The Leader

  5. The Attorney

  6. The Accountant

  7. The Business Developer


What is an Archetype?


An archetype is a typical example, pattern, or model that helps people understand each other.

These archetypes provide a way to better understand different styles of project management.

We'll explore each archetype and guide you on how to embody them effectively so you can successfully deliver your projects.


Archetype 1: The Communicator


Clear communication prevents misunderstandings and ensures alignment.

The Communicator doesn't just convey messages; they are attuned to the nuances of dialogue.

They prioritize active listening and craft their messages thoughtfully, considering the specific needs of their audience.


Archetype 2: The Enforcer


Consistency and accountability are paramount to a project's success.

The one who is fearless in upholding accountability at all levels.

Setting clear standards, and holding everyone, including themselves, responsible for their actions and decisions.


Archetype 3: The Builder


Every construction detail directly impacts project outcome.

An expert in the craft, this archetype prioritizes efficiency by minimizing waste and optimizing project value.

With profound understanding of construction materials, methods, and building systems, they guarantee work is done in sequence and meets the highest quality standards.


Archetype 4: The Leader


The true leader shapes the team's morale and path.

Prioritizing the team and its goals over personal interests, they exemplify dedication, taking ownership for every task, regardless of its nature.

As natural motivators, they build an environment that encourages the growth of future leaders and inspires passion and dedication.


Archetype 5: The Attorney


In this industry, contracts bind us, and understanding legalities is crucial for project success.

The one who comprehends contracts, legal obligations, and risk management. They're instrumental in conveying these complexities to stakeholders.

Their expertise is key to reducing risks and guaranteeing that projects stay compliant.


Archetype 6: The Accountant


Handling millions in finances means the margin for error is minimal. A project's viability hinges on precise financial insight.

The one who is skilled in preparing and maintaining key financial information.

With expertise in forecasting, budget management, and financial structuring, they ensure decisions are both informed and profitable.


Archetype 7: The Business Developer


Sustained business success isn't just about one project but envisioning the next.

The one who builds and maintains trusting, healthy relationships, and understands clients needs.

Authentic and likable, they make others feel valued and appreciated. Their genuine approach builds lasting bonds, driving project success.


The Well Rounded Project Manager

The closer work feels like play, the more we feel we are thriving.

To get into flow in all aspects of work, you need a good scorecard. Change is a sustained reinforcement of new behaviors and thinking patterns.

The 7 archetypes provide a clear framework to gauge and refine your management approach.

Evaluate your proficiency in these behavior patterns so you can decide where you want to make changes and improve.


Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Assessment Wheel: Visualize the center of a wheel as 0 and the outer edges as 10.

  2. Rate Yourself: Assign a number to each archetype based on your satisfaction. Shade the section to represent the score.

  3. Analyze Your Wheel: Most wheels aren't perfectly round, meaning some areas need more attention.

  4. Focus: Choose up to two areas to work on. It is hard to make improvements in many places at once.

  5. Define Success: Ask, "What does a score of 9 or 10 represent in each section?" By doing this, you visualize your ultimate goal.

  6. Set Time-bound Goals: Allocate a realistic time-frame to achieve these objectives.

  7. Make it a Game: Aim for a score of 10 in every section. Stay true to your goals and avoid being swayed by others.

  8. Team Effort: If you lead a team, engage them in this exercise. Revisit and evaluate together 1-2 times per year to track progress.

Remember, round wheels roll best!


Final Thoughts - Your Technology

Self-improvement is a continuous climb, and with each step, there's more to learn and adapt. As you move up the mountain, it becomes imperative to constantly learn and commit to evolve into an even more effective individual.

Mastering the seven archetypes is crucial for steering successful projects. But the real game-changer? Seamlessly blending these behaviors with the right technological tools.

A conducive environment accelerates personal and professional growth. For project managers, this translates into harnessing the power of technology and optimizing systems.

It's the bridge between processes and people, ensuring that operations drive us ahead, not drag us down. With the right tech, you get real-time insights, aiding informed decisions.

Here's the bottom-line:

  • Systems streamline your communication.

  • They set clear accountability standards.

  • They enhance your construction strategies.

  • They underpin your leadership strengths.

  • They ensure risks are managed effectively.

  • They sharpen your financial insights.

  • They shape stakeholder interactions.

In short, a synergy of people and processes, like what PROJEXION brings to the table, is the pinnacle of project management.

As you improve your actions, let your technology work in your favor, streamlining your journey towards becoming an influential project manager.

Until next week,

Kyle Nitchen

Thanks for reading! Want to work together?

Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

📣 Sponsorships: Want to put your brand in front of construction project managers, leaders, and execs?

The Influential Project Manager is a digital publication reaching over 2,000 industry professionals and decision makers. Our readers rely on our free weekly newsletter to deliver valuable insights on effective project leadership and important industry updates.

Apply Here to be a Sponsor.


☎ 1-on-1 Coaching

Are you interested in diving deeper into a particular topic or strategy? Book time with me for a 1:1 coaching or strategy session.

Book a Session here.


🎙 Interviews & Public Speaking

I’m available for podcast guest appearances and speaking engagements, focusing on leadership, construction project management, and continuous improvement. Interested in having me on your show or event? Let’s connect.

Request an Interview Here.


📧 Support My Newsletter

The Influential Project Manager articles will remain free, but if you find this work valuable, I encourage you to become a paid subscriber. As a paid subscriber, you’ll help support this work.

Upgrade to Paid Here.


🎁 Refer Friends, Earn Rewards!

You're just 3 referrals away from unlocking my Construction Management, Lean, & IPD Resources ebook!