Grateful Leadership and Meddling

You are managing a strategic project that has attracted the attention of one of the senior executives. The executive, right from the start, is spending a great deal of time in the area where the project is taking place. The project team is now complaining that the executive is meddling in their work and distracting them from their project duties. The project manager should:

  1. Say and do nothing since the executive is above him/her in rank
  2. Explain to the executive that you appreciate the interest in the project, but the disruption he/she is causing is affecting performance and offer to provide all desired information in status or dashboard reports.
  3. Ask other executives to help eliminate the interference of this executive
  4. Ask the team members to tell the executive that all information to him/her must come through the project manager



  1. Answer A will reflect poorly upon you since the team has asked for your help. (no points) Answer D will also reflect poorly upon you since you are asking the team to do your job. (no points) Answer C is possible, but only as a last resort. This could alienate your relationship with senior management and reflect upon your ability as a leader. (2 points) Answer B is the best choice, provided of course if the executive listens to you and understands what you are saying. (4 points)


Epilogue: The project manager chose option B, but the executive still meddled. The team then decided to overload the executive with information, even going so far as asking the executive to make an abundance of trivial decisions. Finally, the executive got the message and stopped meddling. The team was grateful for the project manager’s decision to bury the executive with information.


[Reference: Judith W. Umlas, Grateful Leadership, McGraw Hill and IIL Co-publishers, 2013; P.XX]