Are you an ego driven Project Manager?

I want to thank all of the ‘ego’ driven project managers out there.  Without them I wouldn’t gain such wonderful ideas for my blog posts.

What is an ‘ego’ driven PM?

In my view an ego driven PM is one who is always and only focused on the outcome that is going to deliver him the best pat on the back, cudos, bonus, development opportunity… or what ever else is going to pump up or support their ego.

These PMs are more interested in looking good themselves, than working for a team outcome.  They think they and only they know best.  They don’t really listen to others.. they don’t include others in decision making.  They tend to be very good at looking very busy (but I know that a lot of the time they really have no idea what is going on.. but don’t tell them that).

The benefits to a project team of having an ‘ego’ driven PM running it..

Are there any benefits you ask?  Well, lets see.  This project manager is all about delivery for themselves. This might mean that they will do whatever it takes (rightly or wrongly) to get an outcome that is good for them.  Might this also mean that it is a good outcome for the project?  Might this mean that people go out of their way to deliver when it didn’t look possible, because this PM wants the cred for delivering.

Maybe the project team will benefit from having someone who doesn’t really know what they are doing in charge.  It might mean that the team themselves learn to work more closely together, to understand what is needed.  It might create a closer working team, than was initially operating.

If your ego driven PM reports that things are all rosy, when they aren’t so that they look good.. what incentives does this drive within the project team?  Does it make them strive to deliver more than they would have before.  This is what I’ve seen.   Stream leads work harder to make things happen.  They step up and take the real action required for delivery.  This is good for the stream leads, as it provides great development opportunity for them.

The problems with having your project run by an ‘ego’ driven PM

All of the reverse reasons listed in what’s good about having the project run by an ego driven PM apply just as equally too of course, firstly.. naturally:

– there is no real control over what is and isn’t happening

– status reporting is fictional and not real and so there can be problems that are not addressed

– stream leads are left responsible for ‘managing’ more than they should be.

Communication within the team can be messy or non existent.  This can create chaos because there are mixed messages floating around and this can create re-work, or no work… big problems for project delivery.

Because this type of PM is only really focused on themselves they are not tuned into the real issues that are arising within the project delivery space, and therefore items can go un-actioned, overlooked, or not dealt with in the correct way (and this may in part be because they don’t understand the issue in the first place).

My ultimate suggestion is.. DON’T put an ego driven PM in charge of a project. You will ultimately cause problems within and to the project team members and ultimately not really deliver what is needed.  Not the real outcome that you want.

If you consider yourself an ‘ego’ driven PM after reading this post, I suggest that you get some help to understand where your gaps in learning and understanding are, so that you can better manage projects moving forward, without your ego getting in the way.



Written by Karen Munro

*Image courtesy of Cooldesign at