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How to Earn Leadership PDUs for PMP Renewal in 2021

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If you are like many Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification holders, you might be finding it hard to source enough quality learning materials for your Leadership PDUs. Panic no more, I have all the details you need below.

In this article we’ll look at what Leadership PDUs are and how many you need, and what activities count towards your PDU total in the Leadership category.

What are Leadership PDUs?

Leadership is one side of the PMI Talent Triangle, along with Strategic and Business Management and Technical skills.

Leadership PDUs form part of the Education requirement for recertification.

The table below shows how many Leadership PDUs are required for each PMI certification.

CertificationLeadership PDUs Required
PMP8
PgMP8
PfMP8
PMI-PBA8
PMI-ACP4
PMI-RMP4
PMI-SP4
CAPM2

What does ‘Leadership’ mean?

The PMI Continuing Certification Requirements handbook defines Leadership like this:

Knowledge, skills and behaviors specific to leadership-oriented, cross-cutting activities that help an organization achieve its business goals.

But what does that actually translate to, as tasks we can do for PDUs?

The PMP® exam content outline has some more information on what leadership looks like. In fact, I’d say that the PMP exam has been aligned to structure perfectly to the Talent Triangle, with everything in the People section being fair game for Leadership PDUs.

What project management tasks count as leadership

Let’s take the exam content outline for the PMP as that’s a good guide to what PMI thinks Leadership means.

Here’s the list of activities in the People domain.

  • Manage conflict
  • Lead a team
  • Support team performance (this is about appraisals, team development, giving feedback and identifying areas for individual improvement)
  • Empower team members and stakeholders
  • Ensure team members and stakeholders are adequately trained
  • Build a team
  • Address blockers for the team
  • Negotiate project agreements
  • Collaborate with stakeholders
  • Build a shared understanding (this is about facilitating conversations to reach consensus)
  • Engage and support virtual teams
  • Define team ground rules
  • Mentor relevant stakeholders
  • Promote team performance using emotional intelligence.

That’s quite wide-ranging, and there’s a lot in there you can turn into Leadership PDU opportunities.

Get a head start with my guide to 15 easy ways to earn PDUs this year.

Examples of qualifying activities for Leadership PDUs

We all use leadership skills in project management which means there are plenty of opportunities to claim PDUs in this area as long as you are learning about related topics.

Even if you feel like you’re not in a ‘leadership’ type job, for example, you’re after PDUs for CAPM because of the role you do, you can still find ways to evidence your leadership learning.

To be honest, I enjoy developing my leadership and interpersonal skills more than I do learning technical techniques. However, much of project management education is based on technical skills, so you do have to keep an eye out for qualifying activities that count towards your Leadership PDU total.

leadership pdu topics

For example:

Any kind of formal or informal training, webinar or podcast on the topics of:

  • Conflict management
  • Negotiation skills
  • Influencing
  • Collaboration techniques (reading my book on collaboration tools would also count)
  • Knowledge transfer tools and techniques.

Any reading, research time or learning about:

  • Managing virtual teams
  • Emotional intelligence (start with this book)
  • Team engagement and team building activities like a scavenger hunt.

I have a resource to get you started with building team engagement across virtual teams, that you could also adapt for teams working in the same location.

The easiest way to earn Leadership PDUs

If all that seems too difficult, then the easiest way to earn your Leadership PDUs is simply to buy a bundle of curated training materials specifically designed to meet the PMP certificate’s requirement for 8 hours of professional development in that field.

There aren’t many resources specifically designed purely for Leadership PDUs, so the one I recommend is The PDU Podcast Leadership Package.

I like it because:

  • It instantly means you earn 8 relevant PDUs (of course, you have to watch the webinars, but you can do that over a lunchbreak, on your commute or in the evenings)
  • If you don’t need 8 PDUs in the Leadership domain, you can carry them forward to the next recertification cycle
  • The PDUs are already pre-approved as they come from OSP International LLC, a recognized and approved PMI training provider
  • They come with a spreadsheet that shows you exactly how many PDUs you earn per webinar, so you save time entering your claim into the Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) system.
Earn PDUs
PDU Podcast
$19.00

Earn PDUs by listening to these podcasts on your phone, mobile device, or computer. Learn from 25 project management experts when it is convenient to you.

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I also have another article with tips on how to earn PDUs fast, so if you’re coming up on your time limit, you can quickly get what you need.

Next steps

Ready to earn those elusive Leadership PDUs?

Here are your next steps:

  • Make sure you have a copy of the CCR handbook so you can double-check exactly what you need
  • Log into the CCRS and see what you’ve already logged against the Leadership side of the Talent Triangle – it might be more than you think!
  • Work out how many more PDUs you need
  • Learn how to make time for professional development and then make a plan to earn the PDUs you need using the resources discussed above.

See, simple! You can do it – as we’ve seen, as long as you identify the right learning opportunities, you’ll soon have a full quota of relevant claim codes to add into your record.

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earn leadership pdus

About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin is a Fellow of the Association for Project Management in the UK and the award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.

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