Chapter 3 – Project Manager as a Leader

3.4. Managing the Team

In order to successfully meet the needs of a project, it is important to have a high-performing project team made up of individuals who are both technically skilled and motivated to contribute to the project’s outcome. One of the many responsibilities of a project manager is to enhance the ability of each project team member to contribute to the project while also fostering individual growth and accomplishment. At the same time, each individual must be encouraged to share ideas and work with others toward a common goal.

HR in Focus: Human Resources and Performance Evaluation

Through performance evaluation, the manager will get the information needed to ensure that the team has adequate knowledge, to establish a positive team environment and a healthy communication climate, to work properly, and to ensure accountability. HR Specialists would be involved in creating performance evaluation programs and tools for the evaluation of the team and the Project Manager.  They would establish evaluation forms, guidelines for evaluation specific to the project, standard performance measures, and feedback. Managing the project team includes an appraisal of employee performance and project performance involving HR Specialists as advisors. The performance reports provide the basis for managerial decisions on how to manage the project team and Human Resources.  HR would be involved in helping to motivate the team to do their best and ensure the evaluation was completed fairly, objectively and consistently.

During or after the completion of the project, HR would be in a position to reward performance based on merit, provide opportunities for advancement to team members when available, and provide evaluations to other functional managers within the organization.

Employee performance includes the employee’s work results, such as:

  • Quality and quantity of outputs
  • Work behaviour (such as punctuality)
  • Job-related attributes (such as cooperation and initiative)

After conducting employee performance reviews, project managers should:

  • Provide feedback to employees about how well they have performed on established goals
  • Provide feedback to employees about areas in which they are weak or could do better
  • Take corrective action to address problems with employees performing at or below minimum expectations
  • Reward superior performers to encourage their continued excellence

Emotional Intelligence

Emotions are both a mental and physiological response to environmental and internal stimuli. Leaders need to understand and value their emotions to appropriately respond to the client, project team, and project environment.

Emotional intelligence includes the following:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Empathy
  • Relationship management

Emotions are important to generating energy around a concept, building commitment to goals, and developing high-performing teams. Emotional intelligence is an important part of the project manager’s ability to build trust among the team members and with the client. It is an important factor in establishing credibility and an open dialogue with project stakeholders. Emotional intelligence is critical for project managers, and the more complex the project profile, the more important the project manager’s emotional intelligence becomes to project success.

Human Resources could provide Emotional Intelligence training for the Project Manager and the team members. This training could be offered at the beginning of the project or during the project.  It would support the team in reducing stress, how to react to critics, overcoming their fears, assisting with communication development, increasing social skills and create a positive work setting during the project.

Working with Groups and Teams

A team is a collaboration of people with different personalities that is led by a person with a favoured leadership style. Managing the interactions of these personalities and styles as a group is an important aspect of project management.

Teams can outperform individual team members in several situations. The effort and time invested in developing a team and the work of the team are large investments of project resources, and the payback is critical to project success. Determining when a team is needed, and then supporting the development and work of the team are critical project management abilities.

Teams are effective in several project situations:

  • When no individual with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to understand or solve the problem exists.
  • When a commitment to the solution is needed by large portions of the project team.
  • When the problem and solution span project functions.
  • When innovation is required.
  • When speed is important.
  • When the activities involved in solving the problem are very detailed.

In addition to knowing when a team is appropriate, the project manager must also understand what type of team will function best. Sometimes, individuals can outperform teams. An individual tackling a problem consumes fewer resources than a team and can operate more efficiently—as long as the solution meets the project’s needs.

An individual is most appropriate in the following situations:

  • When one person has the knowledge, skills, and resources to solve the problem.
  • When the actual document needs to be written (Teams can provide input, but writing is a solitary task.)

Personality Types

Personality types refer to the differences among people, including in such matters as what motivates them, how they process information, and how they handle conflict. Understanding people’s personality types is acknowledged as an asset in interacting and communicating with them more effectively. Understanding your personality type as a project manager will assist you in evaluating your tendencies and strengths in different situations. Understanding others’ personality types can also help you coordinate the skills of your individual team members and address the various needs of your client.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), often simply referred to as Myers-Briggs, is one of the most widely used tools for exploring personal preference, with more than two million people taking the MBTI each year. It can be used in project management training to develop awareness of preferences for processing information and relationships with other people.  Based on the theories of psychologist Carl Jung, the Myers-Briggs uses a questionnaire to gather information on the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment. Perception represents the way people become aware of people and their environment. Judgment represents the evaluation of what is perceived. People perceive things differently and reach different conclusions based on the same environmental input. Understanding and accounting for these differences is critical to successful project leadership.

The Myers-Briggs identifies 16 personality types based on four preferences derived from the questionnaire. The preferences are between pairs of opposite characteristics and include the following:

  • Extroversion (E)-Introversion (I)
  • Sensing (S)-Intuition (N)
  • Thinking (T)-Feeling (F)
  • Judging (J)-Perceiving (P)

Sixteen Myers-Briggs types can be derived from the four dichotomies. Each of the 16 types describes a preference: for focusing on the inner or outer world (E-I), for approaching and internalizing information (S-I), for making decisions (T-F), and for planning (J-P). For example, an ISTJ is a Myers-Briggs type who prefers to focus on the inner world and basic information, prefers logic and likes to decide quickly. It is important to note that there is no best type and that effective interpretation of the Myers-Briggs requires training. The purpose of Myers-Briggs is to understand and appreciate the differences among people. This understanding can be helpful in building the project team, developing common goals, and communicating with project stakeholders. For example, different people process information differently. Extroverts prefer face-to-face meetings as the primary means of communicating, while introverts prefer written communication. Sensing types focus on facts, and intuitive types want the big picture. (Myers, 1962).

On larger, more complex projects, Human Resources would be involved with the project managers using the Myers-Briggs as a team-building tool during project start-up. This is typically a facilitated work session where team members work with HR to take the Myers-Briggs test and share with the team how they process information, what communication approaches they prefer, and what decision-making preferences they have. This allows the team to identify potential areas of conflict, develop communication strategies, and build an appreciation for the diversity of the team.

The DiSC Method

Another theory of personality typing is the DiSC method, which rates people’s personalities by testing a person’s preferences in word associations in the following four areas:

  1. Dominance/Drive—relates to control, power, and assertiveness
  2. Inducement/Influence—relates to social situations and communication
  3. Submission/Steadiness—relates to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness
  4. Compliance/Conscientiousness—relates to structure and organization

(DiSC Profile, n.d.)

Understanding the differences among people is a critical leadership skill. This includes understanding how people process information, how different experiences influence how people perceive the environment, and how people develop filters that allow certain information to be incorporated while other information is excluded. The more complex the project, the more important the understanding of how people process information, make decisions, and deal with conflict. There are many personality-type tests that have been developed and explore different aspects of people’s personalities. It might be prudent to explore the different tests available and utilize those that are most beneficial for your team.


In relation to the DISC method, which of the personal preferences do you think related to you best?  Why?

12.5. Managing the Team” from Essentials of Project Management by Adam Farag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


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