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5 Signs Your Project Team is Unhappy


An unhappy project team is the enemy of successful projects, and as a project manager, you need to make sure your project team stays happy. However, you cannot realistically keep your project management team happy if you do not notice signs of unhappiness.

Since everyone responds differently to work, figuring out what members of your project team are unhappy can be extremely complicated. Fortunately, unhappy employees tend to share common signs, and by learning these signs, you can work to improve their happiness and productivity.

1. An Unhappy Project Team Lacks Creativity.

Your project team is supposed to be one of the key sources for a flow of innovations and creative solutions to your project. If you notice your project team lacks creativity, your project team may be unhappy. Furthermore, driving innovation and creativity in your project team requires some responsibility on your part. You need to give your project team members opportunities for growth and development by allowing them to express ideas often in a constructive environment.

2. Employee Turnover Is High.

Employee turnover rates are key indicators of how well your employees are satisfied with their positions and roles within your project. High employee turnover rates are indicative of unhappy employees. However, the key to understanding when employee turnover rate signifies a problem rests in understanding the explanation behind the increase.

For example, high employee turnover rate due to the relocation of the project team may not necessarily signal unhappiness. If turnover rates continue to increase, a problem exists. Basically, you need to account for what causes the increase, and change processes to bring employee turnover rates down.

3. Unexplained Absences Seem to Occur Often.

Happy employees want to work, but unhappy employees will find any excuse to avoid work. Obviously, absences will happen, but you need to hold all incidents of absenteeism accountable, and if you noticed unexplained absenteeism increasing, your employees and members of the project team are probably unhappy. If you are unsure what is causing this unhappiness, ask your project team members about it. This may be as simple as holding a quick meeting to discuss frequent absences.

4. Energy or Motivation Is Missing.

Projects can be long, and it is normal for employees to grow tired and lose motivation. However, when energy and motivation slip among the members of the project team as a whole, the members of your project team are unhappy. For example, returning from a vacation is probably going to involve some missing motivation. However, happy team members find their energy by the second day back. Learn to recognize when energy or motivation disappears without warning or explanation.

5. No One Wants to Take Responsibility.

As a project manager, your responsibility is to ensure all members of your project team are held accountable for their actions and what they oversee. Unfortunately, you have to be willing to assign responsibilities, and members with assigned responsibility need to accept the charge. When members of the project management team do not want responsibilities, your project team may be unhappy. Furthermore, harsh criticism of team members could be playing into this factor, and if so, you need to change how you critique members of your project team.

Some dissatisfaction with work is normal, and most project teams overcome dissatisfaction. However, an unhappy project team is not productive and makes work uneasy. By learning to recognize the five signs of unhappy project teams, you can make your project team members feel welcome and happy in their careers.

Key Takeaway

  • Unhappiness steals creativity.
  • Unexplained absences and high employee-turnover rates are hallmarks of an unhappy project team.
  • Unhappy project teams are lethargic and tired and avoid accepting responsibility.

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