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Motivating Teams When the ‘Going Gets Tough’

The role of a project manager is to successfully plan, execute, monitor, control and complete a project.

As a project manager, it is easy to focus all your attention on assigning ‘tasks’ and ‘to-dos.’ It can be easy to forget that team members need more than a mile-long list of “to-do” items.

Teams Need Motivation

According to Webster’s Dictionary, ‘Motivation is the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something.’ The motivational drive is a little different for each person. Ultimately, each team member must find his or her own desire for completing the project. Project managers have the unique role of creating opportunities for their team members to become and stay motivated.

Getting started…

The first step is to understand the two forms of motivation. The Two Factor Theory, developed by psychologist Frederick Herzberg concluded that people find their motivation in two ways.

Herzberg theorized that people are either motivation-seekers or hygiene-seekers.

Hygiene seekers

Hygience seekers have a need to feel safe. In both, life and in work projects they search for a sense of security.

They find security and comfort in:

  • Company policy and administration
  • Supervision
  • Salary
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Working conditions

They are motivated by:

  • Time off of work
  • A bonus
  • The opportunity to travel for the project

Motivation seekers

Motivation Seekers will look for more long-term rewards than Hygiene Seekers, and will be motivated by their achievements, their opportunity for advancement, and public recognition for their work.

They look for opportunities to:

  • Learn new skills
  • Promotions 
  • Rewards for hard work

They  find comfort in:

  • The challenge of achievement
  • Growth
  • Opportunity for advancement

Creating and Maintaining a Motivated Team

Armed with your understanding of Two-Factor Theory help your team members determine if they are hygiene seekers or motivation seekers. This knowledge will benefit your entire project team as you tackle the project. 

Gather Your Team

If you know and understand what drives your team members, you can build project motivation by tapping into the factors that drive them.

Work together to:

  • Identify the need for the project
  • Establish the project’s key goals and benefits

Now, encourage your team members to identify personal benefits they may achieve by participating in the project.

Discuss the following:

  • The relationship of their personal interests/goals to the project goals
  • The reasons they enjoyed past projects
  • Personal benefits for completing the current project

Keep motivation and morale high by providing your team members updates on their progress.

Team Benefits

  1. Achieving intermediate milestones provides personal satisfaction.
  2. Recognizing successes confirms they’re on the right track.
  3. Successfully completing intermediate steps reinforces their belief that they can accomplish the final goals.

The ultimate goal is to keep your project team motivated throughout the project.

Using the tips shared above, establishing milestones and by frequently sharing project updates will all help get your team to project completion with motivation to spare.

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