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Effective Criticism

Far too often project managers lose sight of how there own behavior and emotions can get in the way of building a high-performance project. Handling those situations that involve the good news like finishing early and under budget a relatively easy to handle. The situations that involve managing the project that will be late and over budget due to a team members poor performance, are much more challenging. There the project manager needs to focus on changing behavior not punishing the team member.

An important part of a project manager’s job is setting norms of behavior and conduct so the team works together effectively and efficiently. The PM must deliver effective criticism when norms are not followed. That requires setting and then enforcing the standard.  The key is focusing on changing bad behavior and not falling into the very natural tendency to punish with your criticism. That is ineffective in changing how people behave.

Key Points: You need to look at your corrective action through the eyes of the person whose behavior you want to change. That way you will avoid saying and doing things that will cause the person to continue the behavior. Consider how you would handle three typical problems with project team members: being late for meetings, engaging in turf wars with people from other functional specialties and not meeting all the requirements of an assignment

Let’s look at these  real project situations and the right and wrong way to handle them…Read the rest

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