Good project managers can make a world of difference in a business. Projects will run smoothly, teams will work together effectively, and productivity will improve as time moves on.
The problem is not all project managers are good; some of these people are just bad at their jobs. These individuals may cause more chaos than peace. Employees will feel a little burnt out, and product or service value might suffer given enough time.
Learning to spot a bad project manager is of the utmost importance for any supervising team or individual. The following is a simple guide that should help along the way.
Spotting a Bad Project Manager
Good project managers lead by empowering others. This is done by offering trust, without allowing their authority be undermined. These kinds of managers work towards managing less and allowing smaller teams to manage themselves, while still working towards the goal he or she set forth.
Supervisors will notice that this type of manager can communicate bad news without confusing anyone and diffusing possible negative reactions. Seeing the opposite informs supervisors they might be dealing with a bad project manager.
The following are some signs to look for:
- Bad project managers like to micromanage everything. These individuals are not going to allow anyone to make a decision without his or her input.
- Project managers who do not respect people’s time are not good. These individuals tend to work people too much or frequently call for unnecessary meetings.
- Managers that emphasize their accreditation and expertise might be seeking praise for themselves. Good project managers focus on the team and feel successful when the team and company meet their goals.
- Project managers who do not handle stress well will give off a vibe that things are not under control. While it is okay to have a bad day, having stressful days consistently is a bad sign.
- Managers who are unable to communicate instructions, bad news, or any other piece of important information to their team might not be a great manager. An effective manager can simplify the sales process, not make it more complicated.
All of these are signs of a bad project manager. Of course, there are also a number of traits that might make it clearer to employers that they have a bad apple. The following are a few traits that most bad project managers have in common:
Project managers love to organize things, and that is part of the reason they can be quite helpful to a company. The problem is bad project managers cannot help but write more than is needed. Good managers know that people do not love to read, so they usually break down their plan into a scannable list. This makes points clearer and text more digestible.
Bad managers use their positions of power to break promises to the teams that work for them. Sure, this could not be the manager’s fault, but this cannot be a pattern because trust is the key to ensuring employee satisfaction. Sometimes, these types of managers have a hard time being open and transparent; they usually try to hide their motives for any changes.
Managers that are not too good at their jobs simply do not care about employees too much. These individuals may have a hard time listening to team members or may interrupt others often. Bad managers also fail to get to know people’s skills, so they have a hard time giving the right task to the right employee.
Bad project managers tend to deflect issues and blame others for any shortcomings highlighted by employers. This is because they do not want to take responsibility for their inadequacy. Good managers will take the blame for anything that goes wrong since it really is their responsibility to be on top of what happens during the sales process.
Employers who notice these traits or signs will have to come to terms with the fact that they hired a bad project manager or the person turned into one at some point. Some of these individuals might have built a good relationship with upper management, which makes this realization a little harder to swallow, but the company’s well-being has to be put first at all costs.
The first step is to allow this individual to improve him or herself.
Upper management has to tell the project manager what is expected from him or her and how he or she is failing those expectations. This gives the individual an opportunity to rise to the challenge.
Employers should give this project manager a specific timeline so that there is no confusion. It is important that the project manager understands that his or her job is on the line if things do not improve. Project managers can involve other managers to help them improve or could even take seminars and courses that could help them see where and how they can improve. Things like Prince2 and PMP® certifications and similar are now considered standard, so if they lack one, that’s a good place to start.
Regrettably, if a person is given enough time to do so and fails again, this person needs to be replaced. This is going to be a difficult conversation to have, but the project manager was given enough time to improve, and employers have promises to keep to customers and shareholders.