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The globalisation of the software development industry has solved one set of problems and created a new set. Skills shortages in the host organisation can be solved by Global Software Development, yet the effective management of virtual teams is a new challenge. This study proposes a process reference model (PRM) and assessment model for the leadership of project teams, including complex virtual teams. Using modelling techniques from Software Engineering, the Leadership PRM describes the attributes that a project manager should possess, and the activities they should perform if they are to be perceived by those around them as leaders. The developed model contains the essential leadership characteristics. Leadership is difficult to define since it is situationally expressed. The context determines the outward form that leadership takes in a given situation. A manager who innately embodies these essential leadership qualities will be perceived as a leader by those around them. Leadership is a skill that can be learned and developed over time to a higher level of competence. Managers coordinate the activities of team members in the pursuit of goals, while leaders extend this management capability by knowing how to motivate team members to want to do what it is the leader wants them to do.