Three Project Management Tips to Motivate Your Team

You’ll find it in almost every job description for project managers. It is a constant part of any PM job, no matter what industry or type of project it is.
Many project managers struggle to motivate their team. How can you motivate your team if you don’t have complete control over their careers, the product vision, and their motivations?
It’s simple: You must want to do this part. Maybe that’s not enough. These 3 tips will motivate your team to create a winning environment for your project.
1. Do not be a “box-checker” project manager
Project managers often get so wrapped up in their project plans and to-do lists that they forget to pay attention to dates, reports, hours and budgets. They want to complete an action item or milestone, and keep the project moving, regardless if there are any relevant discussions, debates, or changes.
They’re doing their jobs because they have to keep projects on track. The box-checkers forget that PEOPLE are what makes the work happen.
You are not responsible for a team of robots that complete a project. You are managing a group talented people who live outside your project. People who want to do great work for you, not for them.
If you nag your team members and ask meaningless questions about project mechanics, and ignore the larger picture project ideas, they’ll see that it’s completely disengaged and lose trust in you.
Use your project management communication skills to build relationships with your team. You’ll find people will engage on a deeper level with you if you engage with them and with your project. They will trust you more with their information and work, and will want to help keep your projects on track.
Communication skills are key. You will feel more at ease if you are able to be yourself, communicate well with others, and understand the details of your project. Your team will also feel more motivated to produce great work within the budget and on time.
2. Your team can benefit from your personal productivity tips.
Most people in your team don’t think like project managers, contrary to popular belief. Why not help your team to learn some PM basics and then help them to apply those principles to their own workflow?
You can help your team get organized and motivated to achieve their personal and project goals with just a few tips. Here are some quick tips to share:
Invite them to participate in the estimation of project tasks. A non-PM can benefit greatly from simple ideas about the scope of their work and how they can break down their tasks using a simple tool such as a work breakdown structure. You’ll notice a change in your team members when they break down a task into steps and then apply a time estimate. You’ll see the benefits of allowing your team members to estimate work and follow deadlines and budgets.
Make internal work plans. It’s easy: If you have a Friday deadline to deliver a document on Friday to a client, set up a few checkpoints. This will help you avoid being a box-checker and will motivate your team to do their work in advance so they can share it with them and get feedback. This will make the final product stronger because it encourages collaboration and peer review.
Establish a RACI (Responsible Accountable, Consulted and Informed) Matrix. This ensures that everyone on the team knows exactly who is doing what and when. This may take some time, but it will be worth it. Projects with RACI matrices prevent confusion about ownership and review, and foster a culture of accountability and open communication.
Only you can know your team. So do what you think is right and will help them with their work.