Approximately $75 billion is spent on failed IT projects every year, according to the Gartner Institute in Eden Prairie, MN. Often, poor management is to blame for project failures. Since one of the keys to successful project completion is leadership, TechRepublic is offering a new download, “A quiz to evaluate your work preferences,” to help you direct your project team.
While using this document probably won’t reduce that $75 billion figure dramatically, the quiz might help you improve the way you relate to your staff members—and that will likely help you accomplish more.
The quiz is similar to the kind of personality exams that many human resources departments give to job applicants. But unlike those job applicant exams, this quiz and the results should be shared with your employees. The results will help you determine who among your staff is a “big picture” worker and who works better as the “details” person.
Workers are asked to evaluate themselves in a way that may reveal new details about how they perform tasks and how they prefer to work with others. Even if you already know your team members well, the quiz may provide new insight into what management style each type of worker responds to best. This quiz was created by SkillPath Seminars, a Mission, KS-based firm that provides executive training across the country.
Learn how to work well with others
According to the SkillPath Seminars quiz and evaluation, workers can be classified into four types of work styles:
- Focusers are doers. They thrive on taking action. They want to know the task at hand and that’s it. They follow a strong leader with clear goals. They manage by directing, and they learn by doing.
- Relaters are flexible. They thrive on coordinating tasks. They want to know the big picture. They follow the focus of the group and work well with broad goals. They manage by organizing, and they learn by observing and participating.
- Integrators are problem-solvers. They need clarity up front before starting a project. They want to know the significance of the project. They follow their own personal reason and work well with ideas and input. They manage by planning, and they learn by listening.
- Operators like to document everything. They are detail-oriented and don’t mind paperwork. They prefer to analyze and monitor tasks. They follow the mission statement and work well with systems. They manage by controlling, and they learn by repetition.
How to use the quiz and evaluation
Which type of worker will perform well when assigned to an IT project team? Instructors with SkillPath Seminars say each type of worker brings unique strengths to the table. As a manager, this evaluation should help you recognize that people approach tasks differently.
Corporate trainer Steve Zahner teaches thousands of business professionals about project management during workshops for SkillPath Seminars. Zahner said project leaders can’t expect coworkers to do everything the way the project leader would do it. Capitalizing on team members’ different work habits may result in more successful project completions.
“The hardest thing for a project manager to do is be neutral, without a doubt,” said Zahner. “We come in with predetermined mindsets, expectations, ways of doing things, and somehow we have to remain objective.”
Even if you don’t plan to ask your project team to take the work styles quiz, it might help you just to become familiar with the four categories that the evaluation describes.
Dave Mehl, technology director for the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative, recently attended a SkillPath Seminar in Louisville, KY, and said he found the evaluation helpful.
“One of the first things I did after viewing the test was ‘classify’ people with whom I work closely and try to adjust my style of working with them to reflect the communications styles to which they would respond. So far, I have had pretty good results.”
Mehl also used the quiz to evaluate his own work habits, and he determined that in many circumstances, he tends to be a “focuser.” But when he’s working with a team full of focusers, his “integrator” characteristics come into play.
Often projects require the bringing together of a group of people with varied skills and different roles in the organization. It is up to the project manager to make sure he or she communicates well with team members when conflict and crisis arise. Just because your team has the right mix of technical know-how and talent doesn’t mean they’ll work together well. If you and your staff learn to respect each other’s varied work styles, it will help you work as a team.
To take advantage of this project management tool, download “A quiz to evaluate your work preferences” now.
Do you feel like a referee when personality conflicts occur on the job? What’s the best way to cool hot tempers? What’s the best way to avoid them in the first place? Post a comment to this article, or send us an e-mail.