Continuing this series from last post on dealing with difficult people on projects, here is another post.
Once when I was working with a company in Toronto, Canada, I had a boss who was very demanding. Most of the people in the office used to do their work with zeal. But i saw one guy who was always free. He never used to have any assignments. Once I asked my boss why this guy is always free. he told me that if he would give him any assignment then he will have to sit with him. And so he was never giving him any assignments. and that is how this guy was always free. he never had to work on any assignments at all. I was puzzled. I asked my boss why so? He told me that this guy needs to be told each and every step of the project task. For this the boss himself would have to sit with this guy. So my boss would never assign any project task to this guy.
So how this guy survived? Why the company would not fire him? It was because the guy happened to be from the same place in India from where my boss belonged. So boss would never give any bad feedback about this guy to the company.
This is very true in many places. Many people survive on the job because of this kind of setting. The project work is done by other people and these people just survive without doing anything.
This is indeed a very bad practice. But in practice many bosses do it to a hilt. They know who is working and sincere and assign all the project task to these kind of people and spare some guys who are actually a headache if they are assigned work.
How to make sure that this kind of practice does not happen on projects? It is difficult as long as there are this kind of bosses around. One good measure could be making the project managers accountable for every dollar spent on the project. Project performance in terms of dollars spent against work output should be directly linked to pay of the project manager. In that case, the project manager will know that any dollar going in the drain will impact his salary. Only then they may desist from such kind of behavior.