Project management consulting professionals are generally organized, skilled, and highly driven. Any time you have several of these strong personality types working together on a team, you’re bound to discover some tension. How do you keep these self-motivated people working toward the same objectives without letting their personalities hinder progress?
1 – Clearly delineate responsibilities. Providing team members with a strong, clear framework of their respective project management responsibilities will help everyone stay on track. This will likely be your most powerful tool in defusing potential problems among team members.
2 – Provide structure for meetings and presentations. You’re more likely to prevent tension by giving your team direction and purpose. Wandering off-topic or addressing tangential issues are sometimes preludes to unproductive arguments. Set time limits for discussions if necessary.
3 – Maintain an uncomplicated team hierarchy, and make reporting relationships public. Dotted line and matrix reporting structures hold significant potential to stir up problems, so keep an eye on them for the first signs of trouble. When possible, assign people that are known to work well together.
4 – Don’t assume that every disagreement is part of a larger issue. Project management team members—just like any other group of professionals—will have different viewpoints and opinions on how tasks should be carried out. As long as progress continues and issues are handled professionally and for the betterment of the project, allow your project management team to work out garden variety disagreements on their own.
5 – If issues do arise, address them head on. Speak plainly and candidly with those involved. Some issues may be awkward, but your efforts won’t pay off if you attempt to sidestep the central problem. Remember to always discuss the matter privately—the rest of the team likely has an idea that friction exists, but there’s no need to feed the gossip mill.