Identifying Poor Performing Project Managers

5 min readOct 25, 2022

During these inflationary times, businesses are struggling to remain competitive and run efficiently. Even worse, many employees are working from home which is spawning operational problems. Co-workers can become ignorant, lazy, or even overconfident. Using a project management system effectively is your best shot at holding the organization together and forcing employees to take responsibility for their tasks and get their work done on time!

First, let’s look at common mispractices of project management systems and how they can be remedied so your business can run optimally.

Poorly Trained Managers

Since 2016, dissatisfaction with project portfolio management has been steadily rising. Yet the use of project management systems is the highest yet. For the most part, the disconnect has to do with poorly trained managers as well as managers trying to run too many projects at once. Stated before, inflationary times are putting a lot of pressure on businesses everywhere. These circumstances prompt clients to ask for discounts combined with an unwillingness to give appropriate funds to fund a project. From the business side of things, we are already in a tight labor market, organizations are understaffed as is, so, not having enough funds while taking on too many projects nearly guarantees a project team will fail to meet client deadlines. However, the blame should not be placed on any single entity but rather on the economic situation. The companies that take on the most responsibility and excel regardless of economic circumstances are always the most successful. So, for your business to excel, it needs to ensure that its existing workforce is properly trained to work its hardest under lean conditions. This means individuals should be working hard yet smart. To work smart, each employee must understand the instructions of each assigned task perfectly, so they know exactly how to knock it out. This is where having properly trained project managers come into play. Sun Tzu said “if instructions are not clear and commands not explicit, it is the commander’s fault” so it’s imperative that task descriptions are written with clarity by project managers. Make sure managers are trained in each department, to gain a keen and perhaps sympathetic understanding of each co-worker’ role. Knowing each person’s work function ensures the project manager can relay realistic deadlines to clients and superiors.

Over 85% of high-performing companies have a project management training program. So be mindful that project managers need to be trained on the employee end, at the task level. This way managers will know how to write simple and concise instructions which do not prompt more questions from a confused employee. What’s nice is that many project management systems have a “reoccurring task” feature which triggers a new task automatically on a specific date given pre-defined criteria. So, once an employee completes their current task, a new one will auto-populate, there’s no need for him or her to meet with the boss or ask, “what should I do next?” The co-worker can simply leave a comment within the task for the project manager or fellow co-workers to address, or at most, open live chat and chat in real-time.

Once a project manager is properly trained, superiors need to keep a watchful eye that they are not showing signs of underperformance like procrastination, or one who may think he knows it all and does not respect underlying employee input nor performance. This would be more of a governing issue.

Lack Of Governance

Staying on top of things and maintaining the actionable direction of a project to its completion requires a project manager that knows how to govern well. However, in today’s snowflake age where individuals can take almost anything out of context, especially online or via a cloud-based project management system, it’s important for managers to be tactful in their language. Employees need to know, preferably in person, that they should accept instructions of work (tasks) simply for what they are, which is for the completion of a project, and thus, the betterment of a company. Certain instructions might be deemed triggering to certain employees, but everyone must understand that they are being paid to perform their duties and knock out assigned tasks, that’s it. As stated earlier, managers must be properly trained, preferably in each department so the employee that’s receiving their assigned task will respect their obligation and perform the task to the best of their ability.

Another aspect of governing an overall project is making sure action is being taken to finish tasks timely. Your organization wants to perform well and satisfy expectations because it wants to get paid, and it will possibly lead to repeat business. The opposite can also happen, if work is not done, your organization might be short paid which can be long-term destructive to a business’s survival.

Thankfully project management systems like Claritask offer a multitude of features that empower businesses to keep a project on track for a client set completion date. Features like “time tracking” let managers know exactly the amount of time everyone has worked on a task, or “due dates” which assign a specific date to a task so those responsible know exactly when something needs to be done. As for client meetings and ensuring they are satisfied with progress, many software systems offer “Timesheet Reports” which generate detailed reports based on people, projects, tasks, time categories, and more so you can quickly discuss topics.

An organization needs to ensure that its managers are properly trained and know how to govern the entirety of a project.


To conclude, a properly trained project manager will have the following characteristics which will benefit your organization tremendously:

Excellent communicator, instructions are clear and concise for all

The project manager doesn’t take any credit for the work done. This factor is huge because it’s motivational and well received by the employees. If the staff are taking on all the responsibility of assigning duties, then it’s only fair that they get to enjoy all the credit and honors of completing tasks on time. So, a mindful project manager will know that for the best workplace relationship, and to garner the most respect from employees, he or she will not take credit for project completion but rather share it with co-workers. This leads to even harder-working employees who respectfully receive their instructions (orders) from their project manager (commander).

Easy to get along with, employees are not afraid to confide information or share vital developments within their department which are altering the course of a project.

Projects are always finished on time to client satisfaction. This is the goal of any organization, to please the stakeholders of the project given their set parameters of time and funds. If your project manager is meeting this standard, then you have an amazing employee just make sure they are equipped with the best, easy-to-use project management system.