Posted by: ahmedashfaque | September 24, 2014

How to deal with difficult people on projects – part 3

In the previous post we had seen about some bad bosses types. In this post we will see how to help some people who need counseling.

When i was working in a Chicago based firm sometime back i had a colleague who was working fine though his ability to understand technical aspects was a bit on the lower side. In a job where the technical aspect was paramount, this was a shortcoming for this fellow.

I always distribute work assignments based on ability of my fellow project team members. So I used to assign project tasks to this guy which demanded less of technical ability. But sometimes you do not have a task suiting a particular project team member. So I called this person in my office one day and told him about this aspect.

Before the meeting I already had all the information as to what to tell this person. I had gathered from my experience of working with him about his strengths and weaknesses. I knew that this person has no ability to upgrade his technical skills. I wanted him to accept this aspect. I also knew that this person had some great speaking ability. But in my project there was no position available which would require speaking ability. His writing ability was also not so good. Otherwise i could have have assigned him some documentation tasks. i always used to have plenty of documentation tasks on the project.

Overall the picture was clear. This guy was not suited for my project. He also had no mental abilities to upgrade himself so that he could become useful on the project. In such a scenario there was no alternative but to give him the pink slip. In the meeting, he argued for his position but i told him clearly about his unsuitability. I also counseled him and told him what he can do with his abilities and where he could find a job. Luckily I had a friend who was a project manager at another consulting firm and was looking for a person who can speak with customers and do customer facing tasks. this guy would fit perfectly in that role. I immediately recommended this guy to my friend. Later this guy was selected for that position. Now he is happily working with my friend.

Lesson learned

Sometimes, you find people on your project who are not suited to project tasks. You also gather that the person can not upgrade himself so that he becomes suitable for the project. In those situations, you have no alternative but to fire him.



  1. […] part 3 of this series of posts, we had seen how an unfit person needs to be counseled and helped out. In today’s post, we […]

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