How to Motivate Your Project Team

Why is it important for you to motivate your project team? When we want to create and deliver products and services faster, we look at four areas -- people, process, product, and technology. People has the greatest potential to shorten schedules across projects.

Researchers have identified team performance differences on the order of 10 to 1 or more. Most productivity studies have found that motivation has a stronger influence on productivity than any other factor.

Here's the problem -- motivating your project team is a "soft skill." It's difficult to get our arms around this baby. Consequently, many project managers give motivation a lower priority and focus on tangible things.

"There is no traffic jam along the extra mile." --Roger Staubach

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10 Ways to Motivate Your Project Team

How can you motivate your project team? It’s not a total mystery. The good news is you can greatly enhance your team’s performance with a consistent focus. Here are some tips on motivating team members:

  1. First of all, clarify and consistently cast the vision of the project, a primary job of the project sponsor. Project managers can help to reinforce the vision.
  2. Set monthly, weekly, and daily goals. Agile projects provide structure for these types of goals. Project managers can use daily stand-up meetings as a time to motivate.
  3. Be positive. Greet team members with a warm smile.
  4. Periodically meet with your team members one-on-one and discover what motivates them. Is it responsibility, possibility of personal growth, work itself, recognition, or salary?
  5. Furthermore, make sure your team members understand the importance of their role in achieving the project goals (objectives).
  6. Have an open-door policy.
  7. Don’t respond negatively to failure. Be supportive and help team members learn from their failures.
  8. Empower your team members.
  9. Recognize good work. It does not have to be complicated or costly — here are 10 simple ways to thank your team. A simple thank-you note goes a long way!
  10. Lastly, give them challenging work. Project managers should present team members with a challenge, one that is slightly outside of their comfort zone.

How to Motivate Yourself

Project managers need to be motivated too. What motivates you? What can you do to motivate yourself? One thing I do is read – here are 10 Books You Can Read In One Night That Will Boost Your Motivation for Work.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being highest, how would your team members rate your soft skills — things like leadership, decision-making, conflict management, and meeting management? Enroll here in my FREE online course, 11 short videos to advance your soft skills.