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10 Career-Crushing Behaviors for Project Managers

Picture of Claudio Gutierrez

Claudio Gutierrez

President & Founder — Valens Project Consulting


Project management is a high-wire act, requiring a perfect blend of technical expertise, leadership skills, and interpersonal finesse. But even the most talented PMs can trip up and send their careers plummeting if they fall prey to certain detrimental behaviors. Here are 10 career-crushing traits to avoid:


  1. The Micromanager: Hovering over your team, dictating every step, and constantly checking up stifles creativity, kills morale, and breeds resentment. Trust your team, delegate effectively, and focus on providing guidance, not micromanagement.
  2. The Communication Black Hole: Poor communication is a project killer. Keep stakeholders informed, address concerns promptly, and proactively share updates. Don’t become a black hole where information disappears.
  3. The Scope Creep Champion: Uncontrolled scope creep turns projects into budget-busting monstrosities. Clearly define project scope upfront, manage expectations actively, and resist the urge to add endless “just one more thing” features.
  4. The Deadline Disaster: Missed deadlines breed chaos and erode trust. Develop realistic timelines, communicate delays early on, and proactively mitigate risks to avoid becoming the harbinger of missed deadlines.
  5. The Conflict-Averse Coward: Ignoring conflict won’t make it disappear. Address issues head-on, facilitate team communication, and mediate constructively to prevent festering problems that derail projects.
  6. The Credit Hog: Stealing the spotlight from your team’s accomplishments sends a toxic message. Celebrate collective wins, acknowledge individual contributions, and build a culture of shared credit for long-term success.
  7. The Inflexible Iron Fist: Project demands change, and rigid inflexibility will break your team and your project. Be adaptable, embrace change effectively, and communicate adjustments clearly to maintain momentum and team morale.
  8. The Blame Game Master: Pointing fingers and shifting responsibility never solves problems. Own your mistakes, take accountability for project outcomes, and focus on solutions, not blame, to earn respect and trust.
  9. The Overpromising Underachiever: Overpromising to impress stakeholders sets you up for failure. Be realistic about timelines and resources, manage expectations cautiously, and prioritize quality over quick wins.
  10. The Technology Luddite: Ignoring technological advancements leaves you in the dust. Embrace new tools and software, encourage your team to upskill, and leverage technology to streamline processes and boost efficiency.


Remember, project management is a leadership marathon, not a sprint. Avoiding these career-crushing behaviors and cultivating self-awareness, adaptability, and open communication will pave the way for a successful and fulfilling journey as a project manager.


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