PM and the Spirit of Giving: Focused Attention to a Team Member

PM and the Spirit of Giving:  Focused Attention to a Team Member
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While the holidays are a time for giving – we usually express that spirit well with family, friends, and neighbors – we may often miss the opportunity to express that with a team member.  As project managers, we so often move from team to team…and team members also move in and out of your team. While this is a great experience for all involved, sometimes we miss the opportunity to build more effective relationships, especially when there is a difficult situation.  This article explores potential difficult situations with a team member, and explores ways that you can tap into the holiday spirit to smooth things over.

This is the first of a series of four articles on “PM and the Spirit of Giving”, where we explore just a few of the opportunities a project manager has to express the spirit of giving in his/her professional life.  This article, Part 1 in the series, “Focused Attention to a Team Member”, looks at opportunities to take advantage of the holiday spirit to try and build a better relationship with a team member. Part 2, “An Extra Mile for the Customer,” looks at ways that you, as a project manager, can do a little extra something to build a stronger professional relationship with your customer.  Part 3, “Special Appreciation for a Vendor,” raises the idea of expressing the holiday spirit with an often underappreciated supplier or service provider. Finally, Part 4, “Someone Specific in Your Network”, encourages you to take a look outside your current job at your professional network for a special way to express the spirit of giving.  

It is most important to remember that our team members are people.  Here are some “people situations” that you may encounter, and some things to think about in the holiday spirit at this time of year.


  • A team member is overseas and off site:  This is a common situation today. Team members are often working remotely, whether full-time or part of the time.  They are important contributors. Think carefully about a remote team member: what they contribute, how they are connected to the team, what they need personally and professionally.
  • A team member needs some extra support in their job:  Sometimes people struggle a bit, and need some extra guidance.  It could be a gap in education or experience, or it could be that someone just needs a boost to pave the way.
  • You sometimes find yourself at odds with a team member:  Every relationship is unique, and you surely will not gel with everyone equally.  Right now, there may be a particular team member with whom there is some friction.  Often times the friction can be reduced by reaching out that little bit extra and addressing the issue – a real act of giving.
  • A team member is having a particularly difficult time personally:  There’s no timeout for personal issues, and that includes the holidays.  Being sensitive to this may be a challenge…or it may come easy to you. Giving someone a little extra time, acknowledging their situation, and providing some understanding can be a great gift at this time of year.
  • A team member has some exciting times ahead in their job:  People need acknowledgement when they are up as well as when they are down!  People go through good times and bad times…and you probably have a mix on your project team.  Recognize the ‘season of life’…and the ‘local weather conditions’ that your team members are experiencing…and remember to acknowledge those who are in the midst of good times!

Remember that your team members are people.  It is always worth extra effort to remember that and reach out – but especially at the holidays when you can tap into the spirit of giving.

What act of giving can you provide to a special team member who deserves it at this time of year?

This Post is Part of the Series: PM and the Spirit of Giving

These articles explore potential difficult situations with a team member, and ways that you can tap into the holiday spirit to smooth things over.

  1. Focused Attention to a Team Member
  2. An Extra Mile for the Customer
  3. Special Appreciation for a Vendor
  4. Someone Special in Your Network