|Motivate your project team|
It’s that time, right? We kick off that big project. How do we keep our team motivated?
I’ll never forget, one of my managers a long time ago, Sue, we had a project working all day and all night. We’d been working on this problem for weeks, and months on our project. I’ll never forget Sue, my manager, coming in bringing pizza. She worked with us through the night to keep her team motivated, keep us motivated through the project. I never forgot that.
It reminds me, my father was a coach. Before a ball game, one of the big things was to motivate the team before the game, during the game, and keep them motivated after the game. Whether they won or they lost, the big key is keeping the team motivated for even the next game.
Those are some of the lessons that I learned that I try and bring forward in my team. I have to say, I’m guilty as charged, as project manager and even my own projects, of forgetting about my team. But it is so important to keep them motivated and engaged, and even to keep myself motivated. So I’ve thought about four tips I wanted to share.
The big thing to remember is setting realistic goals. As we start on a new project, we all get gung-ho and we’re all excited about it. We start formulating our plan, but yet remember to get the input and the agreement from the people on our team. If you’ve ever been stuck with work where somebody came up with the timeline and how much work it took without even asking you, we’ve all been involved in that. Right? We hate that. Well, I don’t want to do that to my team. So one of the tips is setting realistic targets for the work that they have to do.
Next, measure performance. It reminds me of when you’re going on a trip, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” It’s important to remember to have a tool to measure and track the performance. How are we doing against the baseline of what we said we were going to do? Are we on track? Are we off track? If we’re on track or off track, how do we get back and how do we meet the goals that we set?’”
It’s important for the project manager to remember what support or what resources might my team or project need to get us back on track. Sometimes it may be that a person on the team may not be meeting their performance objectives because maybe they need some additional training or maybe they need some expertise. Maybe they need some support in getting the issues that they’re running into handled. So provide the support and tools, but measure that performance to see how we’re doing.
The third one is celebrating success. That is a big one. Celebrating success is not just at the end of the project, but all along the way, whenever we meet those even small milestones, acknowledging, “Hey, we met that,” and being excited about it, and looking at the next one. Always rewarding the team for achieving success, and more importantly, rewarding the team for working together as a team, not just the hero.
We can do that with simple measures. Me, I like pizza. I like chocolates. I even now reward my team with little Starbucks cards. Here locally there are some things called The Dollar Store where everything there costs a dollar. I can go buy some little knick-knacks for my team to give them something really funny or something like that, just to reward them, to say thank you.
Number four is to really know your team. A lot of times we get involved with things where we have to know, if this is a detailed task, if the person working on this is a detail-oriented person. They may need to get some detailed information. If they’re not that type of person, we need to know that and get them some support.
Also knowing, “Is this person an introvert or extrovert?” When we talk about rewarding and motivating the team, we’d motivate an introvert a little differently than we do an extrovert. An introvert doesn’t like a lot of attention. They may not be the ones that want the balloons at the party, but the extrovert might. Just knowing your team, knowing their skills, their expertise, their idiosyncrasies, what they like, what they don’t like. Those are really the things that we need to keep our team motivated.
So a key words that we want to think about is awareness; being aware of the people on the team, being aware of where they are on the project, being aware of what they need to succeed, and just being mindful and treating people with respect, and again, not driving them to the next project.
I’m guilty as charged about keeping my team going, going, going. Sometimes I have to stop and remember to be mindful and aware of the team members and what they need. If you think of people running a road race or a marathon, there are little things along the way to keep the runners motivated and keep them nourished and keep them ready to run the full race. You are here. You are the one. You are the project manager, so it’s your responsibility to make sure that your team is motivated for the rest.