When you are trying to do your best as a project manager, or indeed in any area of business, team members who do not support you can be a real issue. In whatever way they show their lack of support, it is important to recognise what they are doing and the effects they are having on you and the rest of the project team. Your team, from how motivated they are, to their outlooks on life, to how much they earn, all have a massive influence on you and most importantly, your ability to deliver a successful project.
Project management training can teach you many things, but it cannot influence who you have to spend your time with in the workplace. Ideally you want to surround yourself with people who inspire you and support you not those with a negative attitude who are constantly critical and, worse, who affect the motivation of other team members.
For the sake of your personal success and what you can deliver for your organisation, you need to deal with those who do not support the goals of the team.
Supportive team members listen to you and provide you with encouragement, ideas and constructive criticism which enables you to improve personally and as a project manager. Unsupportive peers only offer criticism, do not commit wholeheartedly to the project and have a negative outlook that is unproductive and destructive.
Your future, the success of your career as a PM and the success of your projects is in your hands, so it’s up to you to seize control. Successful people are often surrounded by high achievers, or those with a passion to succeed. It is within your control to surround yourself with an inspirational team.
But how can you best deal with a team member who is negatively affecting the effectiveness and morale of the rest of the team? Firstly, you do need to give them an opportunity to discuss the reasons for their negative attitude with a neutral arbiter such as someone from the HR department. If the problems are insurmountable then request that they are re-assigned to another team. Even if you are under-staffed better that with a positive, motivated team all working together than a fully-staffed team who don’t want to be doing the job or working for you.
Life as a PM is challenging enough without having to deal with people who are unwilling to give their all, are unmotivated and drag the whole team down. Just avoid any out-and-out conflict with the person in question and recognise that not everyone can work together – personality clashes do happen but you need to act quickly to prevent the rot spreading.
Recognise the issues, accept them and take action. Your projects will only ever be as successful as your team is in working as a fully-committed, fully-supportive team.