Attitude vs Aptitude in Project Teams
By Kerry Wills
I have been on several projects now where there are project resources who are very talented in their particular field but who have a pessimistic and almost toxic impact on the team morale. These are the people who know a system or business area very well and therefore everyone comes to them for information. Because of this they get a sense of entitlement which makes them believe that they can act however they want and say whatever they want. Examples I have seen in my own career include…
- Aggression towards vendor partners
- Aggression towards other team members
- Flagrant comments about management and other team members
- Negative attitude about the project goals
I suspect that because they are viewed as critical resources that management glosses over the attitude and doesn’t make a strong stand. My view is that, on my projects, I take attitude over aptitude any day. I would much rather have an optimistic resource who views themselves as part of the team than an expert who makes the project horrible for everyone who has to work with them. I have been on projects where I have rolled off talented people because their attitude was toxic and causing problems for the entire team. Obviously the issue needs to be identified and brought to that person’s attention, but if the attitude does not change then I believe action is required.
Kerry Wills is a proven Program Manager/Portfolio Manager with an extensive background in Project Management, consulting, and application development. Kerry has consistently demonstrated the ability to plan and implement large and complex projects on time and on/under budget. Kerry runs a blog, Adventures in Project Management.