Category Archives: Leadership

Making the Most from a Bad Employee

I was reminded of a valuable lesson today, the one stating that when someone sinks down to a low level, don’t meet them at the bottom. Background: I was recently working on a project for my current client, but the business side of the team requested they have control of the project and assigned their own project manager to the role. Let us forget about the potential downsides of the business controlling the project with their own injected PM for now; what was more disconcerting to me was the fact this individual had little to no experience as a project manager, is severely lacking in “soft skills”, and is quick to get defensive when someone questions his decisions and requests. In short, and from an outsiders perspective, not the best choice for a project manager for what could potentially become a $5 million-plus project over the next 5 years.

I was recently in a meeting with this individual and one other business analyst. The BA was requesting some additional information regarding the business processes, inputs and outputs, and overall scheme and nomenclature clarity for the end-result of the project. What does our newly appointed PM do? He tells the BA to hop on the internet to find his answers. Quite simply, he did not want to commit his or his team’s time to providing the clarity the analyst needed to get the job done. I stepped in and suggested that the best way for the BA to get his answers was for the PM and the team meet with the BA and address his questions, and not put up a roadblock in the investigation and documentation process. At that point, the PM instructed me to butt-out, in so many words. I laughed and reiterated it would be best to work with the BA, the PM countered with a snide comment in a mocking tone……you see where this is going. It was at that point, despite my red face and bit tongue, that I decided not to spiral down into the world of this particular project manager (bear in mind this was not our first, or second, head-butting power struggle).

What I came to realize here is this individual is the PM of the project, regardless of my past involvement with the team and stakeholders for the last 12 months. It’s his show and he is at the helm to do with it as he sees fit. But more importantly, it was not worth my time and emotional condition to continue with the childish banter he and I were rapidly approaching. I will admit, it takes a lot out of me to let go of something, particularly a project of this nature. I had to step back and let someone else captain the ship. Sometimes I don’t make a good first mate. But in the end it is better for me to take the high road and maintain my composure as opposed to getting into a power struggle over decisions.

Have any of you been in a similar situation? How did you deal with it?


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