Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
Leading a team through the work experience requires strategic planning, technical prowess, and the psychosocial skills to inspire and motivate a cohesion within a team in order to support them with their best efforts forward.
Unfortunately, not every work environment brings in mentorship or guidance on how to motivate a team. In fact, many of us have had negative examples of leadership – where it’s often easier to showcase what we don’t like than it is to talk about what we do like in our leaders and managers.
For this reason, it’s essential that we take the time to learn important techniques on how to motivate a team and to manage these dynamics in the work environment, whether that be through the day-to-day or through formal project management.
From fostering a positive work environment to recognizing individual contributions, join us on the journey to discovering effective strategies that go beyond conventional management practices. Find ways to elevate your project team’s morale, cohesion, and productivity with these tried-and-true techniques to enhance team motivation and encourage success.
Table of contents
- What is Team Motivation?
- Setting SMART Goals
- Utilizing a Servant Leadership Approach
- Constant Communication with the Team
- Flexible Work Environment
- Flexible Schedules
- Providing Tools and Resources
- Constructive Feedback and Performance Reviews
- Clarity and Directness in Communications
- Gathering Feedback
- Celebrating Big and Small Wins
- Promoting Equality and Fairness in the Workplace
- Supporting without Micromanaging
- Encouraging Teamwork and Collaboration
- Continuing Training and Development Opportunities
- Final Thought
From there, you can begin to explore a range of techniques to elevate employee motivation within your project team, including setting clear goals, adopting a servant leadership approach, and cultivating open communication.
What is Team Motivation?
It refers to the collective drive, enthusiasm, and commitment of a group working together toward common goals. A motivated team starts with a motivated individual and it’s important to find the balance in fostering the individual in order to help support them in their role in the team’s progress.
It involves the efforts made by leaders, employees, or the company as a whole to inspire and energize the team, fostering a positive and productive work environment.
Did You Know: 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized.
Motivated teams are more likely to stay focused, collaborate effectively, overcome challenges, and achieve their objectives. Motivated teams require psychological safety; feeling brave enough to communicate their concerns, their wants, and even the risks that they see coming for the work coming.
Psychological safety and team motivation have a broad base of factors that all come back to influence team motivation, including effective leadership, clear communication, recognition of individual and collective contributions, opportunities for growth, and a supportive organizational culture.
As a manager, you aim to keep your employees motivated and excited about their work. Without this, projects and work are delivered over budget, late, and with employee turnover.
We often fail to realize how we support a team; the information we provide them and the tools we give them to do the work are a big component of culture and psychological safety and can drive motivation.
The work experience is often handled in silos, but this is where we see room for project management software to come in. Project management software provides a platform that connects members across locations and departments, offering a framework for teams to collaborate, share files, and coordinate tasks.
In the past, these tools have been limited by the processes within a company. Fortunately, that’s changing. Leantime, for example, is a work management tool that focuses on the individual’s motivation so that it can be tied back into the team’s motivation.
Focusing on guiding users through a process, Leantime supports teams and employees in understanding the why of the work, connecting it to the goals we’re trying to accomplish but ultimately showcasing their role in the work. We’ve been managing work and engagement separately for so long that it’s something that needs to be done where the work happens.
Here are some ways you can get started on motivating your team today:
Setting SMART Goals
The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These criteria guarantee that your team goals are clear, realistic, and trackable, providing them with a sense of purpose and direction.
The project team must determine the importance of setting clear and realistic goals. By providing well-defined objectives, you give them a clear understanding of what they need to achieve, which in turn enables them to focus on their tasks and measure their progress.
This clarity and sense of accomplishment can significantly increase productivity within the team.
Here are some examples:
- Specific: Instead of saying, “Improve customer satisfaction,” try to be more specific, such as saying, “Increase customer satisfaction rating by 10% within the next quarter.”
- Measurable: Instead of “Reduce project delays,” opt for “Decrease the number of delayed tasks by 20% over the next six months.”
- Achievable: Instead of “Double revenue this year,” aim for “Increase revenue by 15% by the end of the fiscal year.”
- Relevant: Rather than “Expand the product line,” focus on “Develop three new features that address customer feedback within the next two quarters.”
- Time-bound: Instead of “Grow the user base,” set the goal to “Acquire 5,000 new users within the next three months.”
By implementing this tactic and being more detailed in your project management approach, you can create a motivating and goal-oriented environment for your team, ultimately leading to overall success in your projects.
Utilizing a Servant Leadership Approach
Servant Leadership is a leadership philosophy that is centered around the idea of serving them instead of controlling them. It prioritizes the well-being and growth of the individual employees over the company goals. This approach encourages leaders to adopt a bottom-up approach where they act as servants.
This means that they focus on understanding the needs and aspirations of the employees. Rather than directing them, they empower them to make decisions and take ownership of their work.
This leadership style, which Robert K. Greenleaf popularized, is marked by qualities including empathy, active listening, and team collaboration.
Servant leaders seek to foster an environment of trust, openness, and personal development where members feel valued and supported. They view themselves as facilitators, coaches, and mentors rather than authoritative figures.
This approach leads to higher levels of employee engagement, job satisfaction, and overall well-being. At the same time, it promotes a collaborative and inclusive work environment that drives innovation, creativity, and productivity.
Benefits of the Servant Leadership Approach
There are considerable benefits to implementing a servant leadership style to enhance team motivation.
- Increase employment satisfaction
- Foster collaboration
- Higher productivity
- Improved team morale
- Stronger relationships
Constant Communication with the Team
In any company, effective communication is integral to boosting employee morale and fostering a sense of camaraderie among teams.
When communication channels are kept open and accessible, it creates an environment of transparency and accountability, where everyone is on the same page regarding the project’s goals and objectives.
This not only helps in aligning everyone’s efforts but also ensures that everyone is working together towards a common vision.
Additionally, regular communication helps employees stay engaged, motivated, and invested in their work, leading to better job satisfaction and overall productivity.
Did You Know: Employees who are actively engaged are 87% less likely to leave their companies.
Furthermore, it creates an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts, concerns, and ideas, leading to better collaboration and problem-solving.
Flexible Work Environment
A flexible work environment is like a breath of fresh air for a project team. It’s not just about the physical space; it’s about breaking away from the strict 9-to-5 structure and embracing a more adaptable approach.
In a flexible work setup, a team member has the freedom to select when and where they work, be it in the office, at home, or in a cozy corner at their local coffee shop. It’s a recognition that people have different rhythms of productivity.
This approach empowers team members to align their work with their natural peak times, fostering a sense of autonomy and trust.
Whether accommodating personal commitments or allowing for a change of scenery to spark creativity, a flexible work environment speaks volumes about a team that values the output and the individual behind it.
It’s about creating a space where the focus is on results and collaboration rather than clocking in and out. Ultimately, it’s a testament to the understanding that work is not just a place you go; it’s what you do and your impact.
Flexibility in schedules isn’t just a perk; it’s a game-changer for boosting the motivation of your project team. Similar to the flexible work environment, this simple shift in approach recognizes that inspiration sometimes strikes during standard work hours.
When employees have the autonomy to choose when they work, it minimizes burnout and taps into their peak productivity hours. This empowerment fosters a sense of ownership, trust, and responsibility. It says, “We trust you to get the job done, and we value your well-being.”
Whether it’s adapting to personal commitments, creating a workday that aligns with individual energy levels, or simply avoiding the rush-hour commute, flexible schedules cater to the diverse needs of your team.
Providing Tools and Resources
For the success of any team, it is paramount to supply them with the necessary tools and resources. This includes the right materials and equipment and access to project management software.
Without these essential resources, a team member may find it difficult to accomplish their tasks, which can lead to frustration and demotivation. Therefore, ensuring they have access to all the necessary resources and tools to help them excel in their roles is crucial.
By providing them with the right tools, team members can work efficiently, collaborate effectively, and manage their tasks in a streamlined manner.
One such project management tool that can enhance your team motivation and productivity is Leantime
Leantime: Project Management Tool
Inclusion is a fundamental part of the psychological safety required to support team motivation. Organizing work, however, is often far from inclusive. Not everyone has the experience, skill sets or executive function to organize themselves in a way that supports team motivation and many of the tools that exist in the space will either isolate the user (make them organize outside of the tool) or they won’t support them in their tools.
Leantime changes that with its simple and easy-to-use approach to project management and focus on neurodivergence – supporting people with ADHD, ADD, and dyslexia in their work management efforts.
By focusing on driving intrinsic motivation through the support of motivational psychology, science, and AI, Leantime focuses on ways to promote dopamine, build cognitively accessible features, and support every neurotype in their effort to reach their goals – with and without the team.
The system focuses on how humans naturally organize, bringing in the best practices of project management in a way that aligns with our brains – and not trying to force us through another complex system that we just don’t align with.
Leantime aims to improve detail tracking, keep everyone informed about customer needs, and provide a user-friendly experience for both project management professionals and clients.
Constructive Feedback and Performance Reviews
Giving helpful feedback and having regular check-ins on performance is key to keeping your employees motivated. Sharing insights and guidance sets a clearer picture of what they’re good at, where they can improve, and how they’re doing overall in the project.
It’s not just about boosting confidence but empowering them to take charge of their work. And when team members feel that ownership, it naturally ramps up their productivity.
Did You Know: 75% of employees think that feedback is important.
When you’re sharing feedback with your team, remember these important tips:
- Be specific: Instead of providing general comments, pinpoint the areas where team members excel or need improvement. It gives them a clear understanding of what they need to work on and allows them to take concrete steps toward progress.
- Be timely: Offer feedback as close to the event as possible so it remains fresh in their minds and allows them to address any issues promptly.
- Focus on the behavior, not the person: When providing feedback, concentrate on the actions and their consequences rather than making it personal.
- Balance positive and negative feedback: While addressing areas for improvement or poor performance is critical, it also highlights the strengths and achievements.
Clarity and Directness in Communications
Clear and direct communication is necessary for keeping team members motivated and ensuring everyone knows their roles and what’s expected. When your team has a clear picture of project goals and their tasks, they can work better together toward project success.
In this section, we’ll dive into why being clear and direct is crucial, share examples from project management, and give tips on encouraging open conversations and addressing concerns head-on.
One of the most crucial aspects is ensuring that everyone understands what is expected of them. For example, when assigning tasks to team members, make sure to provide detailed information about the task, its deadline, and any additional requirements.
This level of clarity can help prevent misunderstandings and allows a strong sense of direction. It also creates autonomy in an employee’s ability to understand whether or not they can accomplish a task.
Beyond just giving clear instructions, it’s critical to make a space where teams feel comfortable sharing their concerns, asking questions, and bringing up new ideas.
Actively listen and deal with their worries directly to encourage open conversations.
Understanding their perspectives is valuable for improving motivation and the project’s overall success. By obtaining and incorporating feedback, as a manager, you can identify potential issues, make informed decisions, and foster a sense of ownership and involvement within the team.
Celebrating Big and Small Wins
Taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate big and small victories is crucial for motivating your project team. Recognizing their achievements not only lifts their spirits but also instills a sense of pride in their contributions, ultimately strengthening their dedication to the success of the project.
According to a recent study, 37% of employees reported feeling motivated to perform at their best when they receive personal recognition.
Promoting Equality and Fairness in the Workplace
Establishing a fair and inclusive work environment is crucial in boosting the motivation and productivity of your project team. Treating everyone equally and providing them with equal opportunities can create a sense of belonging, collaboration, and dedication to the project’s success.
Supporting without Micromanaging
Micromanagement can have a significant impact, leading to a stifling work environment and undermining trust between team members and their project managers.
Instead, striking a balance between support and autonomy is essential for maintaining motivation and empowering team members to work independently.
Finding the Balance between Support and Autonomy in Project Management
Ultimately, the key to supporting your team without micromanaging lies in finding the right balance between offering guidance and granting autonomy.
Trusting, setting clear expectations, and providing the necessary resources can create an environment where team members feel empowered to take ownership of their work and contribute to the project’s success.
This approach enhances motivation and fosters a collaborative and dynamic work environment that benefits the entire project.
Encouraging Teamwork and Collaboration
Effective teamwork and collaboration are essential to enhance motivation within a project team. Working together efficiently can accomplish more than they would individually, resulting in greater project success.
Additionally, a collaborative environment promotes a sense of camaraderie and support, which can significantly boost motivation. There are also various team building activities, such as retreats, exercises and more.
The Role of Teamwork in Project Motivation
Collaboration is key to creating a motivated and high-performing project team. When everyone works together, team members can pool their knowledge, skills, and expertise to solve problems more effectively and efficiently.
This collaborative approach leads to better project outcomes and fosters a sense of belonging and shared purpose. As a result, team members are more motivated to contribute their best efforts to the project, ultimately driving success.
Continuing Training and Development Opportunities
Providing ongoing training and development opportunities is crucial for maintaining motivation within your project team.
By continually investing in their growth and encouraging them to develop new skills, you demonstrate your commitment to their success and foster a sense of loyalty and dedication to the project.
It can be challenging to understand how to motivate a team, but by implementing the techniques discussed, from providing constructive and positive feedback to celebrating achievements and fostering open communication, you set the stage for a dynamic and motivated team.
Remember, motivation is not a one-size-fits-all concept, and adapting these techniques to the unique dynamics of your team is critical. Embrace the power of recognition, encourage open dialogue, and prioritize a healthy work environment.
As you invest in the motivation of your project team, you’re not just enhancing productivity; you’re building a foundation for success and collaboration that will propel your projects to new heights. Here’s to a motivated, inspired, and thriving project team!