To successfully accomplish any project goals, you need a motivated project team. However at work, you can’t just shout inspirational quotes and play high tempo dance music.
Instead, if you’re running a project, it’s vital that you know how to keep your team motivated. At the first sign of a dip in motivation you need to know how to take action and fast. If not, your project is at risk.
So what do you do? Easy. Follow these 25 great tips and get your Project Team motivated in a flash.
1. Keep Them Connected To The Company
Like team spirit, company spirit can really motivate your project team. If they understand how their work relates to the company’s wider organizational goals, they’re more likely to appreciate the importance of their work, and feel compelled to deliver.
Make sure that your Project Team understands exactly how their work contributes to the bigger picture. Highlight synergy between teams with guest presentations, and always be sure to promote company wide communications.
2. Clearly Define Your Expectations
Good managers set out instructions and expectations clearly. If you don’t tell your team what you expect, they won’t deliver it. Make sure you set clear deadlines, help every project member understand the expected quality of work, and what they are accountable for.
As a bonus, setting out your expectations will help you understand when you are not getting the right quality of work more effectively.
3. Don’t Sugarcoat Unpleasant Projects
Work isn’t always sweet. If you have a task for your team that’s going to be difficult, don’t sell it as roses. Making an unpleasant project sound nice is a guaranteed way to annoy your team and end up with an unmotivated workforce.
Be honest with them. It will build their confidence in you as an open and transparent manager.
4. Be Consistent
Action equals reaction, so it’s unnerving when you get a different reaction every time. You need to be consistent with your expectations and delivery, particularly when working with your Project Team.
If they know what to expect from you, it will help keep tensions down, stopping them from simmering into problems you can’t control.
5. Set a Good Example
You have expectations for your team. They have expectations for you as their manager.
If you’re never in the office, or always behind with your work, how will your Project Team have confidence in you? To put it bluntly, they won’t.
Good managers set a good example. So make sure you do.
6. Ask For Input
At work, we all want to be listened to. That’s why you need to make sure that you ask your Project Team for input.
It will keep them invested in your project and help you resolve problems before they come to a head. It’s also a great way to discover new ways to overcome obstacles, and discover new ways of working that will deliver better results.
7. Show You Care
Full time or part time, work is a huge part of our lives. Your Project Team spend so much time in the office, and in most cases, want to do a good job. So when they have problems, listen to them. More, show that you care about them as people. If someone’s having a hard time, take time out and see if there’s anything you can do to support them.
At the end of the day, people’s well-being is always more important than a project. It works both ways and will help your team empathize with some of the issues you may be facing.
8. Reward Creativity
Creativity’s great, but it’s often overlooked. When people think outside of the box, it can help you find brilliant new solutions to problems. That’s exactly why it’s something that should be encouraged.
Now, we recognize that sometimes creative solutions don’t work, but if want an office in which new ideas are forthcoming, you need to actively celebrate them when they’re put forward.
9. Break Out Of Comfort Zones
Comfort zones are warm and safe. However, they’re not great for professional development. That’s why it never hurts to encourage your team members to do something different. This tactic will help make work more fulfilling for them, and could help them develop new, more effective solutions for their daily work.
Try assigning new responsibilities to your Project Team members. It offers the added bonus of better resilience. Remember, nothing that motivates more than a new challenge.
10. Offer Training
When you’re focussed on a project, it’s lose track of other aspects of work. But remember, for your team to deliver a good project, you need to make sure they have the right skills to complete the tasks assigned.
In most cases your team will apprecaite the opportunity to learn new skills that could increase their productivity, help them bring new and creative ideas to the project, and support their individual professional development.
11. Discuss Career Aspirations
In your Project Team, everyone’s different. Many people will have different career aspirations, but you won’t know exactly what they are unless you talk to everyone.
It might seem unrelated, but showing an interest in the development of every member of your Project Team will show that you care about them. It can also help identify tasks that will support your team’s professional development, helping motivating them to deliver more.
12. Set Smaller, Weekly Goals
Sometimes it will be too hard for your Project Team to set realistic goals for themselves. This is a problem because without clear tasks, some employees are at a high risk of becoming overwhelmed and unmotivated.
Help them out by breaking down their tasks into weekly goals. It will improve their productivity and help you review the project more effectively.
13. Criticize Constructively
Let’s be honest, sometimes your Project Team’s work won’t be up to scratch.
While it’s easy to criticize when things go wrong, it must never be your only approach. Always make sure that your criticism is constructive, and you clearly outline how their work, or behavior can be improved in the future.
If your team don’t understand why they have been criticized, there’s a danger that they will take it personally and resent you. If left untreated this has the potential to infect the entire team.
14. Offer A Helping Hand
Sometimes, there just aren’t enough hands on deck. If your Project Team is having trouble meeting a deadline, don’t avoid getting your hands dirty.
Just offering help is sometimes enough to inspire your team to overcome an obstacle themselves. Other times you may need to review a plan, or a milestone. While your time is important, offering to help with other’s tasks will cement your position as an active team member, and will highlight your devotion to the project.
15. Provide Rewards
Pay checks are always an incentive, but when someone’s produced excellent work, recognize it with a reward. Rewards don’t need to be bonuses. You can offer anything from vouchers, to time off in lieu, or even lunch.
Also, use rewards as a motivation to help get a team over difficult patches, increasing their incentive to put in extra effort when you need it most.
16. Be Liberal And Praise Often
Praising your Project Team doesn’t cost you anything. Think back to before you were managing a Project Team. You were probably working for someone. Now, remember all of the effort you put into a piece of work. It’s incredibly demoralizing when that effort isn’t recognized.
So be liberal with your praise. Of course, you can praise too much, but it’s up to you to find the right balance. It’s better to praise work that is good than to withhold praise until you review work that you think is excellent.
17. Give Them A Break
All work and no play makes everyone very dull. Your Project Team aren’t any different. When your team has been working on a task for a long period of time, proactively give them breaks.
This can be anything from reminding them to go home early (or on time), to personally going up to them and suggesting that they take an hour for lunch, rather than eating at their desks.
It will help them come back refreshed and even more eager to deliver.
18. Say ‘No’ Tactfully
Not all ideas were born equal. If you need someone to finish a project tomorrow and they forgot to tell you about their leave, you have a problem.
Sometimes, you just have to say no.
However, that doesn’t mean that you have to be blunt. Instead, when a member of your Project Team has an idea that won’t work, explain what you like about it, how it could work in a different setting, but that it’s not the right time to implement it.
Your Project Team will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to listen to their ideas, and that you’ve considered their requests, but have explained why they’re not appropriate at this time.
19. Keep An Eye On Salaries
Nothing demotivates people more than the sense that they aren’t earning as much as their colleagues. That’s because it’s the easiest way for employees to rank themselves against each other. Pay can be a real source of resentment, so keep an eye on it.
If your top performer is paid less than everyone else, make sure you know it. It’s better that you initiate a conversation with them about increasing their salary, than they initiate a conversation with you, or look for another job.
20. Help Staff Achieve Work / Life Balance
Work can get in the way of your Project Team’s personal lives.
While this is ok for some, it won’t be for others. When they see that they are missing out spending time with their loved ones, or feel that they are working harder than other members of team, make sure you encourage them to take time out.
If not, you run the risk of members of your Project Team experiencing burn out and no longer wanting to come into work. Keep a check on people’s hours, and if someone is under a lot of pressure, consider how you can share their responsibilities across the team.
21. Create A Place Where People Want To Work
Environment impacts us all. If you didn’t work with your Project Team, would you want to work in your office. If the answers no, ask yourself why.
Is it because there’s routine bullying and harassment in the workplace? Or is the environment just not suitable?
Do everything you can to make your workplace somewhere that people want to come to every day. Find some budget to buy office plants, invest in a break-out room, or develop procedures that help everyone feel more comfortable at work.
22. Avoid Unnecessary Meetings
Meetings are important. They can also be an enormous time killer. There’s a chance members of your team could be spending too much time in meetings, and feel like they don’t have enough time to finish their work.
This one’s easy to solve. Only organize meetings with agendas, enforce clear takeaway actions, and take the lead when you have enough time to attend meetings on other peoples’ behalf.
23. Get Out Of The Office
The office is great, but you can’t spend all of your time there. Take people out.
It can be to anything from a conference, to a team volunteering day, or even a social lunch or dinner.
Encouraging team bonding outside of the workplace helps people relate and understand other team members’ problems in a less threatening environment.
If you’re organizing activities, just make sure they’re inclusive.
24. Recognize Signs of Low Morale
You can’t address low morale if you can’t recognize it.
Are your team often calling in sick? Do you have a low retention rate? Is there constantly office in-fighting for absolutely no reason?
These are all signs of low morale. Make sure you’re in the office enough to spot them.
25. Learn From Those On The Way Out
Not everyone stays in jobs forever. When people leave, its vital that you understand exactly why.
Conduct exit interviews to find out whether the reason they left was a direct result of company culture. Make sure you take all of the feedback you on board for improvements.
These tips work wonders, but to keep your team motivated you need to stay vigilant.
Make sure that you watch out for signs of low morale and use these great tips to address them as they emerge.