As a manager, are you experiencing these challenges with your Project Managers and their teams?
- Project teams’ performance is inconsistent
- Team morale is low
- Customers are upset with your Project Manager and their style
- Project Managers struggle with being credible with their teams, customers, suppliers or stakeholders
- Team members are speaking badly of a Project Managers performance behind their back
If you are a manager who manages multiple Project Managers, you may find these or other related troubling conditions in your project teams. We know that that there is variability in the talents and abilities of each Project Manager. And poor performance by any one Project Manager in an area can have substantial impact on the entire program. Teaching more project management skills is not necessarily the best answer. On large complex projects it’s often not the Project Managers technical and project planning skills that matter. Rather it is the “people skills” and “political skills” that cause Project Managers to succeed or fail.
Project Managers may be very proficient technically and know the tools and skills of Project Manager, yet struggle with the stuff that really makes a difference. Consequently you as a manager may find yourself working to mitigate the effects of these conditions. You may find yourself putting out fires that your PM has inadvertently set with his team, stakeholders, et al. This distraction can threaten the success of your entire program.
In situations where Project Managers must navigate many different parts of the organization and simultaneously keep things on track, they need to have solid skills and abilities to manage the relationships, respond to myriad conditions, and keep a steady presence.
One of the best ways to help assure that your Project Managers have solid footing is to help them develop a deeper understanding of their leadership style. This translates to knowing more deeply what their Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is. EQ can be developed in a number of ways. However starting with a 360 assessment can be instrumental in helping your Project Managers to understand how their emotional states and responses to situations affect others and the outcomes of interactions.
A 360 assessment is easily administered. I have discussed this in previous posts about the 360 instrument. The 360 assessment produces best results if it is done systematically and supported by a skilled and trained practitioner of the instrument; a coach.
Here’s what a manager can expect to learn about his Project Managers who go through the process or are participating in the 360 assessment.
The Individual’s Character Strengths
The individual’s character strengths are the emotional or mental qualities necessary for dealing with situations or events that are distressing or difficult.
- Resilience: ability of the Project Manager to adapt to his/her environment
- Courage: ability to persevere despite risk, the instinctual character strengths related to how to compete and thrive in an unfriendly world
- Wisdom: ability to study and analyze the facts to form good judgment, trusting the “head” to reason through to a logical conclusion when problem solving
- Humanity: ability and capacity for nurturing and group collaboration; building strong social networks and systems to sustain the team and the Project Manager
The insight gained from people who interact with the Project Manager in different ways provides valuable feedback. This can be used by the Project Manager to develop a more well-rounded set of capabilities. The impact can be substantial. We have seen Project Managers who, having done the 360 assessment, identified areas for improvement and improved team performance, customer relations, and overall project performance.