PM Pointers: Managing a Team Member Who is Coasting

Part 2 in our 5-part Managing Needy Team Members series.

As project managers, we often run into team members who require a great deal of attention. In an opening post for this series, we discussed a general approach to dealing with resources that need TLC. This post offers techniques for getting the most output from folks who lost interest in work because they expect to exit soon.

Coasters Need TLC, Too

Some project team members know their days of working for the company are counted. Some are coasting towards retirement. Some know their jobs will likely go away when the project is complete. Typically, they just stop trying. Without emotional buy-in, these team members are often more harmful than they are helpful.

TWEETTweet: Team members who lack emotional buy-in are often more harmful than they are helpful @MPapov #Abraic #EQ #pmot https://ctt.ec/S6c3W+

Personal legacy and social connection outweigh apathy

 

1. Leverage the Legacy

The first move is to associate the project with the team member’s legacy. Most people want to make a visible, positive impact. The more they associate the project’s success with how they will be remembered once they exit, the more they will put in the extra effort.

2. Show You Care

Another effective strategy is to actually care about what will happen to these people once they are no longer with the organization. They are thinking, “Nobody here cares about me anymore, so why should I care?” A PM who demonstrates genuine care about the individual’s future can expect reciprocation. If a team member is expecting to get laid off, help them with their resume, endorse them on LinkedIn, or introduce them to a friend who may be able to assist in job hunting.

They are often thinking, “Nobody here cares about me anymore, so why should I care?” A PM who demonstrates genuine care about the individual’s future can expect reciprocation. If a team member is expecting to get laid off, help them with their resume, endorse them on LinkedIn, or introduce them to a friend who may be able to assist in job hunting.

I once worked on a project once where one of the team members was a few months away from retirement. I learned that his retirement plan was to restore old cars. Every week I spent some time chatting to the future retiree about car restoration, manufacturing trends, and horsepower. I actually learned a lot, got more spark out of a previously idle team player, and watched his contribution grow because he felt someone in the company still cared about him.

TWEETTweet: #PM Pointers: Managing a Team Member Who is Coasting @mpapov #Abraic https://ctt.ec/jc7dg+

Please share with your network:

Leave a Comment