What are best practices/strategies for dealing with a team member that repeatedly ignores emails/phone calls and will not commit to new estimated completion dates on specific tasks?

  • Please provide additional context. As written, this question is too broad for a canonical answer.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 1:59

4 Answers 4


When I encounter this type of resistance I first email them (cc their supervisor) and ask to set up a face to face meeting. If this is not feasible, I change the email to address both employee and supervisor and schedule a phone conversation so the three of us can work out the issue(s) preventing completion of the tasks. It goes without saying that in all thing of this nature keeping emotion out of it is critical. You can feel frustrated, but do not display this frustration to employee or supervisor. Stay professional.

  • Good progressive approach. First deal with them directly, then inform their manager, then involve their manager. That gives you a valuable email trail to defend yourself with if/when you need to escalate to the point where disciplinary action against the resource is necessary.
    – Pedro
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 15:42
  • While I agree about objectivity, I would not suggest CC'ing their manager prior to simply sitting down with them to try and discover why they are behaving this way (assuming they are responding enough to do this?). It can create a very awkward situation, it isn't respectful to the person you are having a problem with, and it is potentially the first time their manager is hearing about it. Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 22:42

You will need to talk to their line manager. They are not doing a good job and it's not the project managers job to make sure the people are capable of basic tasks like reading and acknowledging email.


It depends on your role.

If you can fire them, that's probably a fair option for someone who isn't performing their duties.

A candid 1-on-1 can often solve problems like this, if handled correctly.


Remove and replace. On a machine, if a cog is not doing its job, you would remove it and replace with a new one. A human resource is no different. This is NOT to suggest we treat people like cogs, but when you are looking at a performance capability, all resources that enable that capability--including humans--must perform to expectations.

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