As Project Managers, many of us are well studied in the principles of managing a project. From planning to initiating, to executing, to closeout our roles are often well defined and through these processes, so are the roles of the members of our teams. The crossover skill of great project managers that this blog will flirt with from time to time is that of Motivation or Leadership. The best laid plans in the world can’t make up for an under motivated team who has little interest in succeeding or worse, has interest in seeing you fail.
As a part of every project management plan, you may choose to implement a number of processes or checks and balances which will allow you to hold yourself and your team accountable for deliverables, schedules, and quality. These milestones or checks and balances will come with consequences ranging from a look of disappointment to some manner of compensation or demerit which typically is a function of your organization’s structure and the autonomy provided each PM and project team member.
Before we get too far along into detailed discussions of what is appropriate for in-meeting spotlighting of a failing team member and when the finger pointing often begins, I wanted to bring the focus back to where it all must originate; the PM themselves. By far, the most powerful motivational tool I have used as specifically a PM (not a supervisor or mentor) but as a stand-alone member to a team of similar stand-alone professionals is twofold: lead by example & believe in your team members’ innate desire to succeed themselves. I intend to explore the specific tools PM’s can and should engage with their teams to manage the expectations and consequences of individual performance, but first I want each of you to look within yourselves and make sure you are setting the example for each of your teams to follow.
Through your own performance, your own outlook, and most importantly your overall just approach, the team will be inspired and innately motivated to trust and help you to succeed. That’s the foundation. Then it gets really fun! Are you laying a solid foundation for your project teams’ success?