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Why Project Managers Underperform - and How to Fix it

Rear View of Young Office Workers in Casual Outfits Listening to a Top Manager Explaining Something Using Illustrations.

Good management is a key component of a company within any industry. With a strong, trusted management team in place, a company’s project managers will thrive due to feeling not only respected, but also valued. However, when the senior management in a company falls prey to common yet crucial mistakes, this can cause project managers to disengage with their work and hit a productivity plateau.

Key Mistakes That Even Strong Leaders Make

In our previous blog, we discussed the impact of errors in a project management office that further encourage disengagement. In this article, we will expand upon mistakes that even the best senior management teams make - and what can be done about them. While the mistakes below are common amongst many industries, identifying these hidden obstacles is key to increasing productivity and engagement. Keep reading to learn some of the most important flaws to be aware of when it comes to overseeing project management departments.

Rapidly Changing Environments Lower Productivity

A project manager wants to feel that their work is valued. In an environment where  priorities change rapidly, disengagement runs rampant. When senior management gives their team a task, the team shows up the next day prepared to work on said task. However, a crucial mistake occurs when senior management changes their decision and offers new instructions upon the team returning to work the next day. In many cases, senior management may not even realize how often this occurs.  Project managers are left disorganized and confused when senior management shifts gears and gives the team a new project to work on. When a team is abruptly told to work on a new project and disregard the directions they were given the previous day, it lowers the project managers’ urgency to complete any project on the plate. Priorities shifting unexpectedly sends the message that no project is important and leads to a higher amount of errors and disengagement.

In a sense, project managers are “trained” to wait for the next priority. There is no sense in getting urgent about one priority, because it may change before lunch today. When the sense of urgency diminishes, productivity diminishes as well. The more often unplanned and unannounced changes occur, the more productivity will decrease due to the chaotic environment.

 Vague Instructions and Weak Communication Cause Confusion

When it comes to communication, another common yet preventable mistake that senior management makes is not communicating efficiently. This creates confusion within the office. When a senior manager gives vague instructions and then leaves thinking an issue has been resolved, the project management team continues doing what they’ve always done. If a manager does not accurately communicate what needs to change, no changes will occur. Simple instructions such as “work better!” are not enough to convey what needs to be done. If instructions are not clear, then nothing will improve, as the project managers do not know what they are specifically doing wrong in the first place. 

Not having the time to meet with the team or providing constructive feedback further fosters disengagement and weakened productivity. Project management teams need strong communication from senior management in order for the team to thrive.

Project Managers Need to feel Empowered

Ultimately, poor communication and frequent priority changes are two key components that lead to disengagement within a project management office -- and even the strongest senior management teams make these mistakes. With these two components hand in hand, it is a recipe for disaster when it comes to attempting to increase productivity. Fortunately, these common mistakes can be remedied. Companies must find a solution to creating a work environment where project managers feel valued and empowered to lessen disengagement in a project management office.

 Learn how to Remedy these Issues

At Enterey Consulting, we have the experience and knowledge to minimize disengagement in your project management department. Our documented techniques, processes, and procedures will improve engagement while simultaneously improving morale.

Make sure to Attend our Webinar on October 26th to learn how to create a methodology that can be easily automated to improve productivity in your project management office!