Posted by: David Scott
project management, project manager, project resources
How best to manage team members who are afraid to commit to tasks?
Background information showed the central fear being one of committing to a schedule. Generally, most folks working in IT, in any capacity, can predict with a fair amount of accuracy when they can have a task, project, piece of work – whatever – completed… if they are experienced. It helps if they are familiar with the nature of the work – but they usually are, or close enough, if they are the ones selected for assignment in the first place.
Those folks who lack experience – either generally, or according to specific piece of work – can be skittish about committing. However, schedules do need to be set, and often times tasks support much larger efforts: The project-whole; a key module’s enablement, and thus business’ enablement; a critical update, and so forth.
In the case of subordinates, working under a manager or team leader, who are reticient: You must meet with them one-on-one, and explain the importance for setting some sort of marker. Confide some unease that you had early in your career, and what you did to ensure things worked out – and they did! Commit to helping the trepidatious person if the going gets rough: “We’ll get you the resources and help you need – we’re a team.”
Emphasize the “team” aspect – both in terms of support, but also in the critical sense that the team needs this person’s best engagement, analysis, commitment, and delivery-to-schedule. It’s all a part of growth.
It’s essentially an opportunity – and sell it as that to the fearful member. Step up, move up, step up, move up… Even for folks who desire to remain static in their IT career – the world does not. They have to evolve, learn, adapt, and take on new challenges regardless – so they’d better get on it.
Afraid to commit? In IT? Nah – not an option.