back arrowUnselfish, The Podcast

Project Management and People Problems

Episode description

Today, we believe that it’s simply human nature to individually pursue our personal goals and we expect that healthy and rational others are doing the same.

Unfortunately, the individualistic perspectives and market metaphors we bring to many of our situations limit the possibilities for us to express our best selves through altruism, compassion, collaboration, and even empathy.

Our assumptions about what is rational and fair in work situations often make it difficult for us to invoke a relational perspective. It may even seem irrational to seek to truly understand others and genuinely collaborate for our shared progress.

In this episode, we explore a concrete example: the world of engineering and construction, from the perspective of a project manager. What would an unselfish approach to project management look like?

Visit for full show notes and transcript download.


[36:27] “By altering task and relational boundaries, employees can change the social and task components of their jobs and experience different kinds of meaning of the work and themselves. From the most routine to the most complex jobs, and from the lowest to the highest tiers of an organization…employees have some degree of latitude in how they craft their jobs.” (pp. 281-282).
Wrzesniewski, A., LoBuglio, N., Dutton, J. E., & Berg, J. M. (2013). Job crafting and cultivating positive meaning and identity in work. In A. B. Bakker (Ed.), Advances in Positive Organizational Psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 281 – 302). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

[38:12] “The problem-solving mind-set can be adequate for technical problems. But it can be woefully inadequate for complex human systems, where problems often arise from unquestioned assumptions and deeply habituated ways of acting. Until people start to see their own handprint on such problems, fundamental change rarely occurs.” (pp. 51-52).
Senge, P. M., Scharmer, C. O., Jaworski, J., & Flowers, B. S. (2005). Presence: Exploring profound change in people, organizations, and society (1st Currency ed.). New York; Toronto: Doubleday.

[42:54] “Individuals enter the labour market as persons of character, as individuals embedded in networks of social relations…and as living beings endowed with dreams, desires, ambitions, hopes, doubts, and fears. For capitalists, however, such individuals are a mere factor of production…” (page 167).
Harvey, D. (2005). A Brief History of Neoliberalism. New York, New York: Oxford University Press.

[44:35] “If there is one message writ large within the annals of anthropology, it is to beware the solid truths of one’s own culture.” (page 8).
Gergen, K. J. (1991). The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life (2000 ed.). New York, New York: Basic Books.

Disclaimer, copyright, and image and music credits:

This podcast episode includes autobiographical stories. Names and identifying details have been excluded or changed to protect the privacy of individuals and intellectual property of organizations.

This recorded audio podcast episode is © 2018, James David Thomas.

The image for this episode was created by the author in Adobe Illustrator CC using Adobe Stock #74676745 © ojogabonitoo under a standard license. Visit

Music used in this episode was mixed by the author in Adobe Audition CC 2018 from a public domain recording of the English Suite no. 2 by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by Syuzanna Kaszo. The recording was sourced from

The post Project Management and People Problems appeared first on Lead Team Culture Development.

episodes iconMore Episodes

On Emotions, Personal Integrity and Being Authentic.

November 5th, 2018


What does being authentic mean to you? Where do emotions fit into your picture of authenticity? Is being authentic the same as having personal …

Unselfish 04: What’s in It for Me?

October 28th, 2018


Are we too busy to help one another? Or can our failures to answer large and small calls for help be traced back to our cultural myths about society …

Finding Meaning in our Life Stories: Optimism, Pessimism, and Self-Esteem.

October 18th, 2018


How personal, permanent, and pervasive are your typical life stories of good and bad events? These explanations relate to how optimistic or pessimistic you are, and whether you let good things enhance and bad things …

Unselfish 02: Singlehood

October 10th, 2018


Within the span of a human lifetime the percentage of single-person households have doubled, tripled or even quadrupled in many affluent western …

Loading ...

Download the RadioPublic app for
 FREE and never miss an episode.

Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store