Apply common sense to project management, expert says

Apply common sense to project management, expert recommends

BALTIMORE'Why is good teamwork so elusive?

Patrick M. Lencioni, an executive consultant and author of best-selling business tomes, told an audience of project managers at a meeting yesterday that the answer is complex.

But in counseling chief executives for many years, he has noticed a handful of common mistakes that leaders make in managing project teams.

'We've assigned teamwork a sense of virtuousness that it doesn't deserve,' said Lencioni, whose latest book is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable.

Lencioni gave an opening keynote at the Project Management Institute's North American Congress, which opened Saturday night and continues through tomorrow.

In setting the stage for two days of work sessions and case studies on project management issues, about a quarter of them focused on government, Lencioni spelled out areas where leaders often stumble:

  • An absence of trust among team members, and the inability to admit and confront flaws. 'When leaders cannot acknowledge that their subordinates are better than they are at some things, that is the point they lose trust' of the group.

  • Failing to address conflicts immediately.

  • Lack of commitment to a project.

  • Avoiding holding workers and peer accountable for bad behavior. 'I've found that top leaders are least comfortable holding each other accountable.'

  • Not paying attention to results.

'It's better to admit that you are not a team rather than being a false team,' said Lencioni, president of the Table Group of Emeryville, Calif.

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