How do you handle the “pains in the necks” on your projects?

I recently was asked “How do you handle the “pains in the neck” at the office, team and social environments.

Some personalities that project managers and coworker encounter may be:

The Never Deliver             The Chronically Late

The Error Prone                The Egomaniac

The Glory Hound               The Gossiper

The Control Freak             The Change Resister

The Constant Complainer

The best way to handle “pains in the neck” — is not to focus on them.  Instead — focus on the behavior that you want to encourage and duplicate.  Attract the people that you really want to work with.

Reward the behavior that you want to surround yourself with.

As a project manager, clearly articulate your expectations for timely delivery, teamwork, innovation, and “uneventful”, quality service.   Encourage those that cannot deliver those standards,to take training and coaching sessions to fill those skills gap.     Uphold the focus on the behavior that you expect and consider them tactical skill set for your team.

As a project manager, establish Entrance and Exit Criteria at various stages of your project.  Devise metrics to articulate time tables, quality level, tests that must pass successful, etc.  Have those metrics prominently and regularly displayed at management status meetings.  Call out the team members consistently and reliably meeting those standards.  Include those metric requirements in groups performance reviews performance benchmarks, as well.** Make these part of your performance skill set.  This gives everyone tangible performance metrics.  This will minimize the effect of “never delivers”, “error prone” and the “chronically late”.

**Make the expectations visible and the consequences even more visible.

Establish ground rules and expectations such that every “complaint” must be accompanied by two or three solutions.  Have an open door policy toward proposals instead of complaints.  The “complainers” will still have valid complaints but they will become part of the solution, as well.  Encourage the “complainer” to find other team mates with his/her similar passion for this topic and brainstorm together.

When faced with the egomaniac, glory hound and the control freak, acknowledge their individual contributions and guide them into the next level of leadership.  Have this clearly articulated in their Individual Business and Career Development Plan.  Publicize a vision of interdependency and encourage them into the Leadership, Manager and Team training.  Put those classes in their Individual Career Development Plans, as their next phase of career advancement.  Better illustrate that if they are the only ones doing these things, they are stuck at this position. ** By using leadership, mentoring and teamwork techniques, they can essentially “clone” their services (allowing that individual to move forward).

Instead of acknowledging an heroic efforts on a task, award the steps he did to eliminate that need in the future.

**At all times, award synergetic, repeatable solutions instead of the single-handed heroic, one-time thrust of force.

Continually reward innovation and change.  This will turn the focus away from  “change resisting” – toward embracing change.   Place in the Personal Business Commitment Goals the goal of creating or adopting a new process or tool.  Make it a part of their performance evaluation or individual development plan.

Life is constant change.  And successful people need to be comfortable with the change.


If you are surrounded by “glory hounds”, “gossipers” or “constant complainers”, ask yourself, what am I doing to attract those types of people?  Am I enabling them? Am I encouraging that continued behavior?

Then step back and change  your behavior to attract the type of people you really want on your team.


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