Project Sponsors, watch out for the following traits of the toxic Project Managers. If your Project Managers are high on the toxicity scale, then protect your team and the culture. Otherwise, the stress levels of the project team and stakeholders will skyrocket. There will be little progress. Bad decisions and a lack of trust will cripple your project.
Watch out for these warning signs and check toxicity to take quick action:
1. Blame – Toxic Project Managers Love this one!
You will observe that they are busy on a fault-finding mission. It is always something wrong with vendor resources, project teams, software applications. They are skilled in distracting from the real problem and blaming others.
2. Never too sure
They never take charge. Seldom do they have good visibility on the project plan, objective, domain knowledge. You will often hear from them:
- Let me get back to you on this: Basically, I don’t know
- I need to check with the team; what do you think, Simon?: Deflection tactic
They are never too sure about the project plan, resources, delivery dates (ETA).
3. They are always concerned
They are concerned about everything. When you ask about specific concerns or the risk, you may hear much fluff. You will observe that everything is a risk according to them.
4. Focus on non-value add stuff
They will keep the key tasks on the backburner will be busy nitpicking vendor timesheets, documentation and emails.
5. Justify their existence – rather than adding value
Because they never add much value, their focus is on justifying their existence. So they will complicate simple stuff and pretend to be busy.
6. Freely floating things
You will observe that everything takes a long time to complete. They may never take charge and lead from the front. Meetings result in even more meetings and unnecessary discussions.
The above list is not exhaustive. However, these are a few signs you must look at. If your Project Manager is high on the toxicity scale, protect your project and the team from them!