Project Management: How to Motivate Team Members
8 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Managing a Project Team
Efficient processes and smooth relationships create the opportunity for successful projects. And having team members personally commit to your project’s success gives you the greatest chance of achieving it. Therefore, your major task as a project manager is to encourage every team member to be motivated and committed to your project’s success.
Motivation is a personal choice — the only person you can motivate directly is yourself. You can create the opportunity for other people to become motivated, but you can’t make the decision for them. The following factors encourage a person to become and remain motivated to achieve a goal:
Desirability: The value of achieving the goal
Feasibility: The likelihood that you can achieve the goal
Progress: Your accomplishments as you work to reach your goal
Reward: The payoff when you reach the goal
When your project meets people’s professional and personal needs in each of these four areas, you strengthen their commitment to the project’s success. Here are some tips to help you motivate your project team:
Increase commitment by clarifying your project’s benefits: Although some people commit to completing an assignment because someone tells them to do so, you get a much more serious commitment when a person recognizes and appreciates a project’s benefits. When discussing your project’s benefits with your team, consider those benefits that are most important to your organization, its employees, and its clients, such as
Encourage persistence by demonstrating project feasibility: A project is feasible if it’s possible to accomplish. No matter how desirable you may feel a project is, if you’re convinced that nothing you do can lead to its success, you’ll give up more easily when you encounter the slightest of difficulties (and so will your team members). You don’t need a guarantee of success, but you must believe that you have a reasonable chance at it.
Let people know how they’re doing: Getting your team members to appreciate your project’s value and feasibility helps you motivate them initially. However, if the project lasts longer than a couple of weeks, the team’s initial motivation can die out without continual reinforcement from you. In general, people working on a particular task need to know how they’re doing over time for three reasons:
Provide rewards for work well done: Rewarding people at a project’s conclusion for their effort and accomplishments confirms to them that they accomplished the desired results and met the audience’s needs. It also reassures them that team members and managers recognize and appreciate their contributions. This recognition, in turn, makes it more likely that they’ll welcome the opportunity to participate in future projects.