06 Nov Team Motivation for Project Managers | Retreat Facilitator Dana Brownlee
How Project Managers Can Provide Team Motivation During Meetings
I’m leading a team of six and our motivation seems to be dwindling quickly. Even my best team members seem to be running out of steam these days. We’ve got about three more months to go and a lot of meetings during that time. What should I do?
Shaun in Atlanta
Your team sounds like their motivation tanks are running on “E”, and they need a fill-up! If you can’t identify a significant structural problem with the team (e.g. unclear charter, difficult client, faulty product, etc.), they may just need a bit more acknowledgment and motivation. Step back and think about how you can best motivate the team to finish the work with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and purpose!
Tips for increasing motivation in your team meetings…
- Let the team know that you’re sensing a drop in morale and ask for feedback. One of the best ways to gather this feedback is to conduct a meeting debrief. Simply conduct a round robin asking each person to share one thing that’s working well on the team and one thing that could be changed to enhance the team environment or performance levels. Simply record all responses on a whiteboard or flip chart and discuss how the team can make changes to incorporate the team’s feedback. If you’re concerned about team members not being candid, ask team members to record their comments on cards anonymously and drop them into a basket on their way out the meeting room.
- Embed acknowledgment into your meeting agendas by creating an agenda item for peer recognition. Spend 5-10 minutes at the end of the meeting to allow (and encourage) team members to recognize anyone on the team (or outside the team) who has gone above and beyond and deserves recognition.
- Ask each team member how they would prefer to be rewarded and attempt to customize rewards as much as possible. Some team members want additional visibility, leadership, and responsibility while others would prefer to have more time off, ability to work from home, or training opportunities. Make sure you understand what type of reward would be most meaningful to an individual team member and don’t assume everyone is similarly motivated.
- Jazz up your meetings! If you’ve been meeting onsite, try meeting offsite. Bring some exotic coffees and pastries and have a “Name that Country” contest at the end of the meeting (with a gag prize awarded to the winner). Close each meeting by asking each team member to share the best idea they heard that wasn’t theirs.
- Recognize that the tendency on most teams is to punish the team stars by giving them more and more work. Remember that your team stars need (and deserve) timely acknowledgment and rewards.
See our video clip for more information on motivating team stars.
Conducting team retreats can be a very effective method for starting a new project or providing a motivating boost to a team that may be flailing a bit. Retreats can be used to build relationships, develop ground rules and other project charter elements, provide a shared vision/clear goals, engage key stakeholders, define strategies, and/or celebrate successes. Dana has designed and facilitated many team retreats for project teams. This video provides insight into her team retreat design philosophy.