than 25 years of experience in the organization. I had
less than five years experience and was about 30 years
During the project, he was not actively disruptive. But
he wasn’t fully engaged, either. The last straw was when
I discovered that I had been operating on incomplete
information because he wasn’t actively working with me.
To resolve the issue, I invited him out to lunch. I told
him I felt he was contributing the bare minimum and
wasn’t supporting me. I said I felt he was setting me up
to fail and I couldn’t let that happen. We either needed
to work things out together or I was going to be forced
to take action that would ensure the success of
He admitted having feelings of resentment and we
had a very meaningful discussion. We left the restaurant
with a tenuous agreement to better support each other.
It didn’t happen overnight, but we slowly began to trust
—Andrea Emrick, CAPM, project manager, Alberta Bone
and Joint Health Institute, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Show Your Chops
All good leaders prepare themselves for
some resistance. It’s important to take
charge from day one to set the tone for
relationship and communication management for the
rest of the project. My approach has always been to
focus on the work at hand, acknowledge that every
team member contributes value to the project and
maintain basic principles of respect and humility in
executing the project.
I remember the first steering committee meeting I
attended with the director of one of my previous projects.
When we arrived, the attendees assumed I was her personal
assistant. Then I conducted the main project initiation
presentation. Showing them my understanding of the project
dynamics and how I handled the questions that followed
earned me the respect of the team. From that point on, I
worked well with the project team.”
—Rethabile Thaba, CAPM, PMP, project manager, iSchoolAfrica,
Johannesburg, South Africa
I’ve found that establishing a work
environment built on trust is the key to
success. Ensure that your team members feel
comfortable approaching you with questions and concerns
about a project.
At a previous employer, the culture was less friendly to
younger workers. But at a relatively young age, I was tasked
with training and supporting a group of mostly older program
and project managers on the rollout of a new piece of software.
To earn my colleagues’ trust, I went above and beyond
to resolve their problems. More importantly, I was open and
honest with them. When I didn’t know something, I quickly
found someone who did. It worked for me because I set clear
expectations and followed through.
Never give up. Every project will have difficult moments,
but it’s during these trying times your teammates need you
most—so keep pushing.”
—Kristen Wypych, CAPM, project manager, Igloo Software,
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada PM
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