8.3 Managing the Project Team

Managing the project team is a process that includes tracking the performance of project team members, providing feedback, issue resolution, and the management of team changes, thereby optimizing the project performance. Some of the leading benefits of this process are influencing positive or developing behavior among team members, resolving project or team issues, and managing the existing conflict among team members. Like most team management processes, the project team’s management is a continuous process that takes place throughout the project life cycle. The process necessitates an array of management and leadership skills that fosters teamwork and integrates the effort of the project team, thereby creating high-performance teams (“A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (PMBOK® GUIDE) Sixth Edition”, 2017). A team management process is an integrative approach encompassing communication, negotiation, conflict management, and leadership. Therefore, a project manager should be proficient in these skills to ensure the project team’s efficient management. 

The project team’s management should include testing or otherwise assessing the team member’s capabilities to tackle challenges. Effective project managers should assign their team members challenging assignments and provide their recognition for high performance. In turn, this will help the project managers determine or recognize the individuals’ capabilities within the team, thereby learning their strengths and weaknesses. To facilitate this, project managers should be sensitive and willing to adjust their management skills and leadership approaches accordingly. Each team member will necessitate different management or leadership style to facilitate individual and overall productivity. For instance, project team members with low-skill abilities will necessitate an increased and intensive oversight than those who have demonstrated high-skill ability and experience. It is also crucial to adopt management tools and techniques such as those that suit interpersonal and team skills management. The Project Management Institute reveals that interpersonal and team skill management necessitates tools and techniques such as conflict management, decision-making, emotional intelligence, influencing, and leadership. The evaluation of these tools and techniques through a lens of managing the project team reveals the following. 

  1. Conflict Management

Conflict is an inevitable facet of project management. At some point during the project’s life cycle, the team members are likely to have contrasting views or approaches that may lead to conflicts. Some of the primary sources of conflict in project management include personal work approaches, scheduling priorities, and scarce resources. Therefore, there is a need for methods that may limit or otherwise prevent or manage conflict. The Project Management Institute states that “Team ground rules, group norms, and solid project management practices, like communication planning and role definition, reduce the amount of conflict. Successful conflict management results in greater productivity and positive working relationships. When managed properly, differences of opinion can lead to increased creativity and better decision-making. If the differences become a negative factor, project team members are initially responsible for their resolution. If the conflict escalates, the project manager should help facilitate a satisfactory resolution” (“A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (PMBOK® GUIDE) Sixth Edition”, 2017, p.348). Therefore, project managers need to address team conflicts early, privately, and directly using a collaborative approach. However, in the event disruptive conflicts continue, it is crucial to employ formal procedures such as disciplinary actions. Project managers’ success and efficacy are usually dependent on their ability to effectively and strategically manage their project teams and their uncanny ability to manage or resolve conflicts. Project managers often employ varying conflict resolution methods depending on their teams. The most employed conflict resolution approaches include: 

  • Retreating from the potential conflict until the manager is better prepared
  • The accommodative approach where the project manager emphasizes the areas of agreement instead of the areas of conflict or differences
  • Compromising through facilitating some degree of satisfaction to all conflicting team members
  • Collaborative by incorporating differing viewpoints and providing insights from different perspectives (otherwise referred to as the win-win situation)
  1. Decision-making

The decision-making approach in this context implies the uncanny ability to negotiate or otherwise influence the project team members. Negotiation is a crucial element and skill that every project manager should possess. Project managers’ negotiation capacity may define the success or failure of the project. Managers that have good negotiation skills are great decision-makers and can effectively manage their project teams. The lack thereof negotiation capacity may prove deleterious. Some of the factors that may help in the decision-making process include focusing on the project goals, having a decision-making process, having extensive knowledge of the environmental factors that may otherwise affect the project team’s management, account for unprecedented risks, and stimulation of team creativity. 

  1. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is also an important quality that all project managers should possess. It is the ability to identify, evaluate, and manage individual emotions and that of others. Since project managers are responsible for their project team members, they must effectively manage their emotions. They can employ emotional intelligence as a strategic approach that can reduce tension while increasing cooperation through the identification, assessment, and control of sentiments. The strategic technique can also help project managers anticipate their project teams’ actions, acknowledge their concerns, and follow up on the pressing team issues. 

  1. Influencing

The words’ leaders’ and ‘influencers’ are today used interchangeably in the international business markets. Over the years, leaders have been known to influence other people’s decisions, attitudes, and perceptions. Project managers tend to have little to no direct authority over the project team members. Although they may have authority in some environments, they do not have a lot of authority in matrix environments. However, project managers can influence the project team member using persuasive skills while maintaining their trust.

  1. Leadership

Successful project managers should have strong leadership skills. The management of the project team is an intricate process that requires managers to have strong leadership skills. They must employ multiple leadership approaches depending on the type of project and the available team. Strong leadership skills can also aid in inspiring the project team while facilitating the achievement of high performance.

Emmanuel Addo

Emmanuel Addo is the founder of the Young Global Leaders Network, an international non-governmental organization registered in six (6) countries namely, Ghana, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan and has a membership strength of over 15,000 young black professionals, students, graduates, and aspiring leaders.

The organization also operates in 25 other African countries. Emmanuel also doubles as the chief convener and founder of the Young African Leaders Summit, one of the largest continental youth summits in Africa.  

Currently works at Kingston University as a Business Engagement Team Member in their Partnerships and Engagement Department. 

He characterizes energy, integrity, result-oriented, and ground-breaking service in each detail of strategic management, change management, stakeholder management, and leadership acquaintances.
Emmanuel owns a core background in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Ghana.

Leveraging his experience as a youth activist and a dynamic young man, Emmanuel founded the Young Global Leaders Network, a youth organization that comprises young diplomats, young politicians, and aspiring politicians, business/entrepreneurial business leaders with the aim of championing a mutual agenda for the African youth and promoting youth participation in governance as well as promoting entrepreneurial culture.
Emmanuel nurtures an environment of teamwork and has expertise in data collection and analysis as well as both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Emmanuel worked as an Associate Lecturer at the London College of Advanced Management where he delivered a wide range of business management courses that involved principles of marketing, leadership, operation management, and research methods. Emmanuel has always maintained high teaching and learning standards to ensure that his students’ stand out in academic achievements and successful progression. As a stout believer and passionate key player in volunteering; Emmanuel creates quality time to giving back gladly to his community what he has learned and to educate individuals with free consultancy on career development. He is a leader anyone would love to look up to and with great integrity, commitment, and passion to make the world a better place.
Emmanuel worked as Qualifications Manager at the Open University in the UK.

Emmanuel is also the founder of Kickstart Innovation Hub Ltd, the entrepreneurial hub of Young Global Leaders Network.