The concept of bullying doesn’t just apply to kids. Bullying in the workplace is also getting more attention these days, and PMOs aren’t immune to the problem. Project management leaders often find themselves in a position of power, and some wield significant control over others in their group and beyond. Below we’ve outlined a few ways to spot a bullying problem within your project team.
Disconnected stakeholders. There are many reasons stakeholders may disengage from a particular project (or from your PMO in general), but it’s always worth considering if their sudden distance from the team is a result of bullying. Pressure exerted by a domineering PM could easily lead a valuable stakeholder to find other initiatives to throw their weight behind. If a former project champion’s reasons for their diminished enthusiasm don’t stand up to scrutiny, there’s a possibility they felt they were being pushed around.
Frustrated end users. It’s the rare project that doesn’t spark concerns or queries from end users, but a bulldozer of a PM could leave your team with a slew of unhappy customers. If they feel they’re being bullied in retaliation for pointing out problems or for asking for resolutions to something they aren’t content with, they’re likely to become increasingly frustrated to the point they no longer even try to raise issues in a constructive way.
Demoralized team members. If enthusiasm within your PMO has gone into a nosedive, something is clearly amiss. And unfortunately, whenever a person in a leadership position users their power to intimidate coworkers, morale will certain go down. Some previously happy team members may raise complaints, but others will simply leave for greener pastures.
Have you run across a bully on a project team? What sort of behavior did they display, and how did it affect those around them?