IAPM International Association of Project Managers

You are here:  News & Events » IAPM Blog

Tips for creating a motivated and highly effective team

Tips for creating a motivated and highly effective team 26.04.2017 - Motivation levels within the project team can be a crucial contributing factor to the success or failure of a project. Motivated colleagues and team members work differently to people who are not very concerned about the outcome of the project. As well as undertaking the usual administrative tasks, it is essential that project managers do not neglect their staff management responsibilities.
Just like the head of the company, they must always ensure that everyone participating in the project performs their work well, which can be most easily achieved if the staff members are motivated. Here you will find a number of tips on the subject of motivation.
Motivation means higher performance
There is a high potential for good levels of motivation from the outset in many projects, or at least at the start of the project when ideas are still new and everyone is happy to be involved in the project. However, there are also naturally projects which are less impressive and do not captivate all the project participants quite so much. Like it or not, these projects still need to be dealt with and managed.
As time progresses even the most prestigious projects often lose some of their charm and motivation levels in the team can start to diminish. In both cases, it is the task of the project manager to restore motivation, which in turn improves performance. People who tackle tasks in a motivated way will also experience greater satisfaction when performing their tasks and with the results that are achieved. If you address the subject of motivation from a psychological perspective, you will learn that motivation basically needs to stem from individuals themselves. It is not possible to motivate people against their own will; it is instead necessary to induce them to motivate themselves.
Luckily there are few helpful tricks that you can use.
Motivation tips
As a project manager, you need to establish a framework, which enables people to find their own motivation. A suitable project management environment increases self-motivation. The project manager is responsible for keeping all negative influences away from the team, creating optimum working conditions and ensuring that the atmosphere in the team remains positive.
This specifically means that the benefits and the objectives of the project need to always be kept in sight. It is useful to frequently stress how worthwhile and valuable the project is. The project manager should constantly ensure that team members have the sense that they are working for a good cause. It is imperative that no one gets the idea that everything is simply a waste of time. It can be helpful to continually emphasise positive aspects and to give each individual task within the project a meaning and to stress its importance.
Meaningful and motivating goals

Project management goals that are pursued must be realistic. They must be both achievable and obvious to everyone involved in the project. A goal that does not appear to be achievable will not motivate anyone. All efforts appear pointless because no one can imagine that the goal will ever be achieved. However, the goal also needs to be slightly ambitious in order to be motivating. The project manager has the task of striking the right balance between realistic and challenging goals. The same applies to interim goals, which are set during the course of the project.
Praise and appreciation
It is important for the team that any achievements are acknowledged, appropriate praise is given and appreciation is shown. Numerous studies have shown that people who feel that their work is valued are significantly more efficient, successful and satisfied, and are also less likely to be ill. The same applies to project managers and their teams. Although an appropriate monetary reward is a form of appreciation, it is extremely important from a psychological perspective that people actually hear at regular intervals that they have done a good job and that someone has noticed this. Being aware of the fact that you are good at your job and that other people value you can be very motivating. As a project manager, it is important to always ask yourself whether you have given enough praise and positive feedback, but this should obviously only be given when it is warranted.
Recognising team strengths
The project manager is responsible for identifying which people in the team are best suited to perform specific tasks. This is easy if you have known your team for years and have worked together with them on many projects. This can be a real challenge when working with a new and unfamiliar team. People are all very different. Some people love to spend the whole day immersed in columns of figures, whilst others would die from boredom even thinking about doing this type of task. This is also an extremely important motivating factor; each team member needs to be assigned a task that suits him. Even though it might sound obvious, it can sometimes be helpful to simply ask yourself what a particular person is good at and what he or she is capable of. With a little bit of experience, it is possible to quickly identify any weaknesses or particularly the strengths of your colleagues.
Transparency means greater motivation
A project manager is always expected to have everything well organised and to deal with all procedures systematically and for justifiable reasons. However, this alone is not enough because the team also needs to know what these reasons are and how the system works. The team also needs to be able to understand why certain matters are dealt with in certain ways. The magic word is transparency!
In addition, it is important that planning and project schedules are communicated to ensure that work is not duplicated, interdependencies are understood and work can be performed more efficiently. Smooth work processes that are understood by all not only contribute to the overall success of the project, but are also very motivating. By contrast, confusing structures and pointless debates are frustrating and demotivating.
What kinds of experiences have you had with motivated or demotivated colleagues whilst working on a project? How to you manage the situation when it looks as if a project might fail due to these sorts of reasons? Write and tell us about your experiences at info@iapm.net.

« Back to overview
IAPM Partners