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Increasing Project Team Motivation

written by: Tricia Goss • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 8/27/2010

As project manager, you agonized over selecting the best possible team and did your best to place everyone in the best possible position. Now that the project is underway, though, they seem to be losing steam. Learn some tips to bolster your project team motivation and get back on track.

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    Remind Them of the Project's Purpose

    Team Meeting 

    After you chose your team members, you took the time to ensure that everyone was clear about the purpose and need for the project. That goal can take a back seat to the bustle and busyness of day-to-day tasks. Jog your team members' memories as to why the project is essential. Inspire your team by describing the purpose of the project in a way that effects each individual. Your team members will once again have a personal interest in the project and regain motivation.

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    Instill a Sense of Ownership

    As with delivering a personal sense of purpose, distributing responsibilities and empowering each person with autonomy will give the members of your project team a sense of ownership over their respective project duties. Their pride in producing quality work for which they will garner credit along with your level of trust and expectations will help to encourage them to make their very best efforts.

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    Provide Sufficient Feedback

    Report Card 

    Keeping your team apprised of the project's status will help them to see that their labor is producing fruit. It can also increase project team motivation when everyone is aware that the entire team will be posted regularly about how each group and individual are faring with their respective duties. Hand out "report cards" to praise team members for commendable performance and to point out areas that require improvement. When your team knows that those doing their share will be recognized and those not pulling their weight will be dealt with as well, they are less likely to feel resentful and lose their motivation.

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    Create Challenges

    Traveling Trophy 

    Contests and challenges along the way can be motivational, team-building and even fun. Create mini-goals throughout the project's lifespan and task groups to try and outdo one another. Be sure to reward the winners. Prizes need not be extravagant nor expensive, simply enjoyable. For instance, you might want to give out anything from printed award certificates or a circulating trophy to prime parking spots or a day off. The prize itself is not the point. The fact that team members' efforts are noticed will help to motivate everyone involved.

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    Celebrate Milestones


    When a project is particularly long and your team is unable to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, it is not surprising if they begin to run out of steam. Help to motivate them by indicating well-defined milestones at various points in the project's timeline. Each time your team reaches one of these objectives, make it a point to celebrate with the entire team. Having small victories to anticipate will make the goal seem attainable and propel your team to keep moving forward.

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    Image Credits

    Team Meeting: Dwyer

    Report Card: Gwarek

    Trophy: Lorenzo