“I really feel restricted by the internal processes here.”
That is how a fairly long conversation started. This was a project manager who was trying to short circuit what he saw as the bureaucracy, but he was ‘having some issues’:
- He had not got the project team ‘with him’ – some of them complained to me that they did not feel engaged and communicated with as the project manager did his own thing.
- Some of the stakeholders suggested that they could never get hold of the project manager. When asked about contacting team members one said they did not know there was a team.
- There was a general air of panic around this project with little seemingly planned…..
During the limited time with the project manager, I encouraged him to find out a bit more about how he is perceived by others; his project team project stakeholders and even his project sponsor. I suggested:
- He ask his project team what they thought of his project management skills. Together, we developed some simple questions for a questionnaire for him to give to his team, and other target groups.
- He should go over his last 2 or 3 performance reviews checking what feedback was received and what development was suggested by his line manager.
- I also suggested he re-read a copy of the internal project management approach and look at the approach he was taking in this project.
The bottom line; he received some pretty negative comments on his performance as a project manager. It seemed to fit with the feedback from his performance review: lack of delegation and communication, as well as needing to learn from mistakes and successes. He also recognised that he had ignored some of the guidelines within the project management approach alienating his team, and some stakeholders.
He recognised he could not do everything himself and started to delegate more tasks as well as communicate more (both with the help of an internal company coach). This was around 3 months ago and while it is early days the results are promising.
There were clearly lessons to be learned from this situation. However, let me leave the final comment to the project manager who explained he had been stuck in a rut and needed the feedback to kick him into action. He recognised now that his behaviour was wrong, and was feeling better about his role as a project manager and a manager generally.
So, what do you need to change to be more effective?