The job description of the project manager normally does not include providing formal performance reviews to team members. This is usually a responsibility of each employee’s functional manager. However, there is no question that a project manager does need to provide performance feedback to team members to let them know how they are doing and whether they are meeting performance expectations. This includes recognizing when team members meet their commitments and providing feedback to them when they are not meeting your expectations.
Telling people they are doing a good job is easy. It is harder when you have to tell a team member he is not meeting your expectations. When this type of conversation is appropriate, the project manager can use the following techniques:
- This helps managers develop a framework for providing effective feedback. The manager should think ahead of time about the behavior that should be highlighted and how the manager can help the employee improve.
- Provide examples. Vague criticism fosters anxiety. Tangible examples are required to highlight the feedback. Typically, you do not need to provide dozens of examples. Hopefully, you can make the point with a couple representative observations.
- Use motivational techniques in the discussion. The employee is bound to be disappointed by the feedback. Look for opportunities to build the morale of the team member as well, so that he will be eager to improve.
- The project manager should start the session with positive comments, then get to the feedback and finish with positive, motivating comments.
- Allow time for feedback. The process needs to be a dialogue between the project manager and the team member. So, seek feedback from the team member and allow him to agree, disagree or provide his perspective.
- Set a timeframe for action and follow-up. The project manager should document any action items, circulate them to the team member and ensure that they are completed. Before the meeting is over, the project manager and team member should also agree on a follow-up timeframe to check progress.
The world is made up of people with various skills and talents. Often, people’s talents drive them to work in certain areas where they excel. In other cases, their individual talents and the jobs they perform are not aligned. Many people have the general skills and the drive required to overcome a lack of alignment.
If everyone excelled in the job they were asked to fulfill there would be much less need for the Human Resource staff. However, it doesn’t always work like that. Some people are not able to meet expectations and managers must not feel guilty about working with them to try to turn things around.
Do you need help with project management soft skills? Contact us today to discuss how we can help your organization choose the right projects.