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Friday, 23 December 2016 18:13

Seven Habits of Highly Destructive Project Managers

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This content is from the Method123 weekly email dated 2016.23.12

Seven Habits of Highly Destructive Project Managers

You have all heard about the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Here is a similar list of seven habits - only these are for highly destructive project managers. (In other words, you don't want to do these things.) 

1.    Motivate by intimidation. Since project team members rarely report functionally to the project manager, some project managers try to "motivate" team members by instilling fear. This could be by shouting, threatening to remove them, humiliating them at team meetings, etc. 

2.    Not knowing your team. The personal lives of team members impacts their work behavior as well. An effective project manager knows enough about his team members that he is able to understand what motivates them. This does not mean you have to pry into every personal details. However, show some interest in the team members as human beings to build a more effective work environment.  

3.    Not being open to ideas. Some project managers believe that there is just one way to do things right, and that one way is their way. Not being open to team suggestions and ideas stifles their creativity. Such a closed attitude prevents new and better methods from being implemented.

4.    Negative expectations. Many project managers are convinced that employees are untrustworthy, sneaky and lazy. This causes them to constantly monitor team members and treat them like children. In a situation where expectations leads to reality, this type of project management behavior can lead the team members to actually become poor performers.

5.    Not communicating performance expectations. Many team members are shocked to learn about project manager perceptions and expectations late or at the end of the project. Ineffective project managers withhold a lot of important information from team members - including their performance expectations. They then provide negative input to the functional managers for performance feedback, which is terribly de-motivating to the team members affected. 

6.    Viewing themselves as the only decision makers. Ineffective project managers tend to believe that they alone make all the decisions. They fail to realize that project managers are as prone to making errors as anyone else, and people that admit their errors stand a chance of thrive and grow.

7.    Creating a negative work environment. Project managers help shape the organization culture. This helps determine whether team members enjoy work or dread it. An organization of poor project management leads to poor project execution, which leads to all kinds of negative characteristics for the entire work environment.    

As a project manager, look at the list above. If you are doing the opposite of these traits you are probably doing well. On the other hand if you have one or more of these habits you should think seriously about changes. 


At TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit www.TenStep.com or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Seven Habits of Highly Destructive Project Managers

You have all heard about the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Here is a similar list of seven habits - only these are for highly destructive project managers. (In other words, you don't want to do these things.) 

1.    Motivate by intimidation. Since project team members rarely report functionally to the project manager, some project managers try to "motivate" team members by instilling fear. This could be by shouting, threatening to remove them, humiliating them at team meetings, etc. 

2.    Not knowing your team. The personal lives of team members impacts their work behavior as well. An effective project manager knows enough about his team members that he is able to understand what motivates them. This does not mean you have to pry into every personal details. However, show some interest in the team members as human beings to build a more effective work environment.  

3.    Not being open to ideas. Some project managers believe that there is just one way to do things right, and that one way is their way. Not being open to team suggestions and ideas stifles their creativity. Such a closed attitude prevents new and better methods from being implemented.

4.    Negative expectations. Many project managers are convinced that employees are untrustworthy, sneaky and lazy. This causes them to constantly monitor team members and treat them like children. In a situation where expectations leads to reality, this type of project management behavior can lead the team members to actually become poor performers.

5.    Not communicating performance expectations. Many team members are shocked to learn about project manager perceptions and expectations late or at the end of the project. Ineffective project managers withhold a lot of important information from team members - including their performance expectations. They then provide negative input to the functional managers for performance feedback, which is terribly de-motivating to the team members affected. 

6.    Viewing themselves as the only decision makers. Ineffective project managers tend to believe that they alone make all the decisions. They fail to realize that project managers are as prone to making errors as anyone else, and people that admit their errors stand a chance of thrive and grow.

7.    Creating a negative work environment. Project managers help shape the organization culture. This helps determine whether team members enjoy work or dread it. An organization of poor project management leads to poor project execution, which leads to all kinds of negative characteristics for the entire work environment.    

As a project manager, look at the list above. If you are doing the opposite of these traits you are probably doing well. On the other hand if you have one or more of these habits you should think seriously about changes.  

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