Project LeadershipProject Management

How Can Project Managers Handle a Tough Team Member?

Dealing with a new project does not always opens new avenues for the project managers. It also brings new challenges to them. These challenges may arise in the form of inadequate information, limited resources, or sometimes, inefficient team members.

A successful project manager is the one who conquers all these emerging challenges and delivers the much-anticipated results to the stakeholders. In this article at Project Bliss, Leigh Espy suggests how the project managers can make the difficult team members work in their favor.

Rise Above the Fray

Without escalating the matter to HR level, try to resolve it with the team member in private. The project managers often make the mistake of ignoring a matter unless it starts hampering the project. Instead, it is wise to resolve differences with the team members at the initial phase.

Analyze to Act

Here is a list of steps the project managers can follow to resolve unwanted issues with the team members:

  1. The best way to deal with a situation at the initial phase is to acknowledge it by observing the behavior of your teammate. Visualize the impact of their attitude towards the work assigned to them and the project delivery in the future. A clear idea of the situation may help in addressing the matter well.
  2. After analyzing the situation, conduct a private conversation with the teammates to discuss it at length. Let them know the impact of their behavior on the project progress. Remember that letting them down by picking wrong words might escalate the matter. Tone down your language in a manner that it does not hit the wrong chord.
  3. The project manager must become a good listener to maintain team balance. Let the teammates express their point of view to resolve the matter.
  4. The best way to resolve an issue is to work on it together. Discuss the matter with the teammates and consider their viewpoints as well. This does not mean that you accept whatever they demand but try to make a feasible decision.
  5. Maintain a professional environment. Ensure no gossip takes place at the work front among other members.
  6. Once the matter is resolved, keep a track of the teammate’s behavior. See if the teammates are working efficiently again and appreciate them to maintain balance.
  7. The project managers need to be concrete about their decisions. If they do not observe any change in the attitude of the teammates, they can take serious action against them.

By making the extra efforts suggested by the author, the project managers can bend any tough situation in their favor. However, dealing with a difficult situation is not as easy as it seems. To read the original circumstances noted by the author in the original article, click on the following link:


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