‘Motivating the team’ is central to any project manager’s role. So if this is your first time managing a project, there are some points about motivation that will make your job easier.
Motivation comes from the word ‘motive’ and is defined as a need that requires satisfaction. Something that motivates us tends to directly impact how we behave and is a key driving force for how we act.
Motivation can be internal or external. External motivation can include the desire for promotion, making more money or praise. While internal motivation can include self-sufficiency, competence or making a difference in the world or at work.
A motivated team is engaged with their work, and an engaged team is 21% more productive. As an occasional project manager, you want to deliver the best results as quickly and efficiently as possible. So, to make sure that your team members are motivated, you need to understand what it is that drives them.
Here’s a list of 10 tips for motivating your team.
Before starting a project, we need to understand what it is we are setting out to achieve. There’s nothing as demotivating as a projectwithout a defined outcome. Our goals must be clear, realistic and easily understood by each team member. Clear goals will help the team to focus on and work together towards our defined outcome.
All project goals should be SMART:
Once the goals have been defined, we need to make sure they are understood. Speak directly to each team member about their role to clear up any confusion from the beginning. One study has shown that “63% of employees reported that they wasted time at work because they weren’t aware of what work was a priority, and what wasn’t”. So, we need to approach this head-on to help them prioritize their work.
As the project manager, everything starts with you, including the attitude brought to each meeting. Positivity is contagious, so, make sure that your whole team feel the effects from you. Simple things like a smile, eagerness to help and willingness to assist team members and brings a human element to your project. Empower your team members by being supportive in times of failure and helping them to learn new things from their failures.
Have you ever wondered where you stand in your bosses’ mind? Me too. Have regular review sessions as a team, to discuss their progress. Supplement these with some one-on-ones to work on the individual’s motivation and keep the door open for conversation.
Ask all members for feedback – good and bad. This shows your team that you consider them equals and that you listen to their opinions.
Even though regular review sessions are a vital part of any project, informal or casual sessions are just as important. Especially for the team members. These can be simple, friendly and casual interactions but they add a human touch to your project management style and allow you to track progress more efficiently.
If you’re working on a long-term project, break it up into smaller targets and celebrate the small victories. This can be simply going out for coffee together, dinner or lunch.
Most team leaders make the error of only acknowledging mistakes. Unless members receive praise for the hard work they do, they will not feel inspired or motivated to put as much effort in in the future. Criticism, if needed, has to be constructive.
Figure out ways to provide opportunities for each team member to be in the spotlight at least once. This will motivate them to put in their best effort.
On the flip side, sometimes we try something and it doesn’t work out. The same goes for our employees and coworkers. Trying something and failing is a sign that our team is trying to grow. Short of bad intentions, members need the freedom to fail in order to move forward.
Make sure review sessions are implemented right from the start of the project, not halfway through. This way, the team is prepared for positive and negative feedback throughout the entire project schedule.
Try to know the team members individually and as a group. Encourage them to ask questions. Have meaningful conversations with them and try to find out what inspires them, particularly in relation to their roles. This should help everyone to get together and understanding what motivates each other and work together as a team. You can be the leader who empowers his team by creating an environment and inspiring them to do so for each other as well.
Don’t be a project manager who gets too caught up with his project plan schedules and make the mistake of focusing only on dates, hours, targets, and reports. Remember that you are not controlling a team of robots, but a group of highly talented people who would want to do good work with you, but not for you. In the end, it all boils down to your communication skills.
It’s hard for a team to be motivated and excited about a project if the project’s manager is not. Lead by example and work on your own motivation levels.