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How to Handle the Slack Team Member on Your Project

Not every team member is going to be an ambitious individual who gets everything done exceptionally well and on time. In a post for The Project Risk Coach, Harry Hall shares how to handle these “slack” team members.

Project managers are the project leaders, and they need to lead their team by example. People look to their leaders to assess how they should behave, so if you want your team to be motivated hard workers, be one yourself.

There is a type of slack team member who is just entirely indifferent to the project. They are not necessarily doing anything wrong; they just lack the motivation and passion that will drive the project to success. With this type of person, the best thing for the project manager to do is to sit down with them one-on-one and be honest about how this behavior is adversely impacting the project as a whole. Perhaps the conversation will even sprout a suggestion on how you can  help this individual feel more motivation and commitment to the project. If a person has a reputation for being a slack team member and their behaviors are beginning to become evident, confront them early so this behavior does not spiral out of control.

Sometimes, the slack team member simply needs to be removed from the team, and there is no way to get around this. This is a very delicate affair and should be handled with caution. The team member may react poorly, and other team members may be annoyed because they do not understand. Before you remove the team member, make sure you actually have the authority to do so, and the project sponsor is in an agreement about the decision. Additionally, be sure you are following company policy and have some idea for a replacement.

There may be instances in which you cannot remove the individual. In this case it is even more important to build a relationship with them. You can also play up peer pressure by having the team give a report on their progress during a meeting. But above all else, you must be positive and supportive.

You can read the original post here: http://projectriskcoach.com/2016/04/30/how-to-be-smart-in-a-project-with-a-slack-team-member/

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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