Thursday, July 18, 2024

The latest news from the world of project management

How to fail well...

Failure Is the new success. Here are five ways that you can embrace...

5 Skills Needed To...

Why do projects fail? It's a question that invites a lot of interest and...

Embrace the change: Getting...

New IT systems for a growing business can be an exciting prospect and...

Does a Project Manager...

What makes a successful project manager is a combination of their academic abilities,...
HomeLeadership7 Project Manager...

7 Project Manager Tips on How to Motivate Your Team

A recent study showed that 26% of employees would leave their current jobs for a 5% pay raise. This says volumes about the current state of motivation in the modern workplace and is especially concerning when businesses now depend upon teams to get critical work done more than ever.

Another interesting study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology indicates that one of the essential combinations of factors that drive project success is the commitment that comes from both top management and project teams.

It appears that there are a lot of un-motivated and un-committed team members out there. How to motivate your team is one of the basic business skills that Project Managers need to address as soon as possible, in order to ensure the successful delivery of products and a high work ethic.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Establish an Environment of Openness

No idea or thought should be criticized or ignored – ever. Team members need to feel comfortable expressing themselves openly and feel heard.

Only a team that operates in an open and transparent environment can achieve higher levels of creativity and fruitful collaboration between departments. More importantly, it allows organizations to avoid unspoken assumptions that tend to deteriorate the working process.

A team that operates on trust will typically be able to communicate much better, which will foster a mutual understanding of the central goals in a project.

Set the Goals and Be Clear About Them

Setting goals is truly an art. Goals that are delineated correctly allow an entire team to connect and gather a mutual understanding of their priorities within a project.

A prominent part of goal setting is that they have to be S.M.A.R.T. i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound.

However, this just speaks on the qualities of the goals and not the actual way they have to be established.

  1. Start off by assessing where you are now and the current state of affairs;
  2. Establish what the desired state of affairs is at the end of the project;
  3. Superimpose the two and understand what sets them apart;
  4. Establish the reasons why these changes need to happen;
  5. Ensure that the entire team is on board and make a collective commitment;
  6. Make a granular schedule for the implementation of these changes;
  7. Implement;

Let Them Know You Trust Their Abilities

Micromanagement is profoundly detrimental to a collective’s trust, and it will slowly erode your team members’ professional self-esteem. Be mindful that nobody wants to be on the receiving end of micromanaging – that’s not the way to motivate your team. By doing so, you demoralize your colleagues and undermine the success of future projects.

It’s essential to assess whether you believe that the people working in your team are reliable specialists. If so, then let them roll with their own decisions.

Secondly, whenever you feel the temptation to micromanage, step back, take a deep breath, and broaden your perspective. Before you say anything about a colleague’s performance, make sure to have an in-depth conversation, and ask the right questions.

A team that is invested with trust is more creative and efficient.

Don’t Ever Punish Failure

If as a project manager you want to motivate your team then don’t punish failure. As a manager, it’s absolutely essential to create a space where your team isn’t scared of failing. On the contrary, your team needs to operate in an environment where continuous learning is a virtue.

This, by no means, implies that team members are allowed to go haywire by allowing them to fail at all times. Instead, you’re giving them the opportunity to learn from their actions.

More importantly, there are successful businesses that give their employees the liberty to poke at inspiring and ambitious projects. The world’s most used email client is a product of such experiments. Some time ago, Google started the “20 percent time” project, which allows their employees to dedicate a fifth of their time to work on complex and risky projects. This is how Gmail happened.

Encourage Play

Games are an essential part of our social and professional lives. To a certain extent, they are emulations of the challenges we are bound to face.

Teams comprise people that differ dramatically from one another. When left unattended, these differences can create misunderstandings and destabilize collaboration in a team. Play is a great solution to create better social and professional cohesion in a group.

Team building via games allows colleagues to improve a variety of factors that are critical to effective collaboration:

  • Conflict mitigation — games enable people to understand the peculiarities of each other’s personalities and take them into account in future partnership;
  • Better role and responsibility distribution — due to the same reason, teams are able to collaborate in a more efficient manner and distribute responsibilities accordingly;
  • Superior decision-making — teams can make better decisions and calibrate their expectations, based on mutual understanding;

Minimize Meetings

Excessive meetings can be daunting and irritating, and wont motivate your team. Respect your colleagues’ time and stick to the necessary minimum of meetings. However, it’s essential to underline that one shouldn’t strive to reduce their number to zero.

  • Identify the meetings that have no apparent purpose and eliminate them;
  • Make sure you invite the necessary minimum of people that have to be at that meeting;
  • Your meetings have to be time-bound, and they need to have a precise agenda you’ll follow;
  • Replacing meetings with emails can be even more daunting, so be careful not to demotivate your team even more;

Provide Opportunities for Professional Development

Every professional has aspirations to become a better specialist; it’s a defining factor. A worker that feels trapped in their job, feeling that they are stagnating their professional development, is bound to become unmotivated and passionless. As a project manager, you need to stay in touch with their expectations and be the person that will help them achieve their goals.


Ensuring that your team is passionate about what they’re doing is an essential goal that every project manager needs to focus on achieving. We hope you found this article helpful and that your project team will stay as motivated as ever. Good luck!

About the Author:

Kristin Savage has been an educator, a writer, a marketing consultant, and even a reviewer for Pick Writers, a website that evaluates translation services. You can find her on Facebook.

Related Posts

Continue reading

PMOs as profit centres

In the midst of recession and poor economic outlook, companies always endeavour to control costs, whilst revenues remain flat. Unsurprisingly, support departments are one of the first casualties of the CFO’s cost rationalization drive. During this mayhem, PMOs struggle...

Do we need professional project managers for G20 infrastructure projects?

The G20 has acknowledged that in order to address hampered and depressed growth in Europe, America, and the developing world, investments should be made in infrastructure projects. They claim that “The lack of infrastructure dramatically hampers the growth potential...

Using Social Media to Communicate Lessons Learned

I am writing a short article for Project Magazine on the use of social media for communicating lessons learned in project management. For example the use of project blogs and forums on a company intranet to communicate and share...