Managing the Type ‘A’s

The term “Project Management” is somewhat misleading.  Perhaps a better term is “People Management” – after all, a finished project is the end result of concentrated effort and work from people.  Projects do not complete themselves.  Unfortunately, they do not manage themselves either.

Project managers are called upon to work with all types of team members.  Understanding the different personalities in a project team can help the manager select and implement management and communication procedures that are catered to the needs and preferences of the individual.  In this post, we will look at management tricks for working with the infamous “Type A” personality.


Type A personalities are characterized by assertive behavior, a strong need for organization, and a desire for “perfectionism”.  These are the project team members who are constantly reminding others of deadlines and referencing the project documents.  They can be incredibly valuable to a project team thanks to their strong time management skills and ability to focus on remaining within scope and cost estimates.  They may also bring less ideal qualities to the table.

Due to their perfectionist nature, Type A personalities may have a tendency to take on too many tasks in order to control the end results.  They may state that they have time and bandwidth to complete deliverables, but then become highly stressed when they do not have the necessary time to present a final product that meets their own high standards.  They may also become bogged down in details early in the planning process when it is more prudent to be focusing on the big picture.

Thankfully, these traits are manageable.  The first step is to identify the personality.  Perhaps a team member is volunteering for more than their share of the work.  In order to avoid this problem, attempt to evenly delegate initial tasks and then evaluate the outcomes before completely assigning all future deliverables.  Always have an agenda for meetings, and then stick to it.  A written agenda will help dissuade the Type A from veering too far off topic for too long.  Include the estimated discussion time for each agenda item, and then assign the Type A personality to keep track of the meeting time and insure that the timeline is being followed.  This will put the assertive and organizational skills to use in a positive way.

Type A personalities bring a lot to a project team and can be very strong assets if they are utilized intelligently.

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About davidbernst

Hello! My name is David Ernst and you've reached my blog. I've spent my professional career as a teacher, customer service supervisor, and pediatric office manager.
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