10 Strategies to Motivate Your Team


Teams are assembled to execute projects based on their skills and experience. But there is another factor that is often overlooked and that is the ability of the team leader to motivate the team. Motivation is more than shouting orders. It’s a soft skill that we’ll show is as important as any of the hard skills a team must have.

What Is Team Motivation?

Team motivation is the ability to rally a team to work together and deliver their absolute best effort. The benefits are many, such as productivity, buy-in and a high level of commitment to the work. There is nothing as powerful as a motivated team. You can feel the energy and the positivity that radiates from the team. It’s contagious, which creates the opposite of a vicious cycle. It feels as if there is nothing a motivated team can’t do.

Team motivation is only part of the picture, though. Project management software gives the team the tools they need to funnel that energy into productive activity. ProjectManager is cloud-based project management software that connects teams in the office, on the job site and everyone in between. They can share files, comment at the task level and more to foster greater collaboration and productivity. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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How to Motivate Your Team With These 10 Strategies

It’s easy to say you’re going to motivate your team, but quite another thing to actually do it. Good intentions are a start and these 10 strategies will put you on the right track to motivating your team.

1. Set SMART Goals for Your Team

Before you can motivate the team, you have to have defined what they need to do. If you set unrealistic goals, then no amount of motivation will help. SMART goals are a good way to start. It’s an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals. Make sure your goals follow those guidelines.

2. Use a Servant Leadership Approach

It helps to try non-traditional philosophies of leadership depending on the makeup of your team. For example, servant leadership feels counterintuitive in that the leader serves their team and organization first rather than their own objectives. This makes the team feel that their voices are being heard, which motivates them and boosts morale, all of which leads to greater productivity.

3. Constantly Communicate With Your Team Members

Whatever leadership philosophy that you adhere to, communication should be the bedrock on which you build your relationship with the team. Communication is more than talking, though; it’s listening. If leaders can create a channel of clear communication between themselves and their teams, taking feedback as well as offering guidance, almost anything can be accomplished.

4. Provide the Resources & Tools Your Team Members Need

As noted above, motivation is only half of the game. The other part is giving your team the resources they need. That can be everything from materials and equipment to project management software. It’s frustrating to work without the resources and tools necessary to do the job and no amount of motivating speeches will fill that hole.

5. Give Positive and Constructive Feedback

Motivation doesn’t mean constantly stroking the egos of your team. A leader must lead and sometimes that means giving your team feedback. There will be mistakes that must be corrected, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to deliver that feedback. Be positive, express first what the team has done right. Then offer constructive criticism, which is direction on how to work better through specific and actionable advice to help the team improve.

6. Get Feedback From Your Team Members

Feedback isn’t a one-way street. A leader must also listen to their team. They’re on the front lines of the work and can provide valuable observations that can be helpful to the project. Take time to get feedback from your team members at meetings and make it clear that they can always approach you with comments or questions.

7. Celebrate Both Small & Big Wins

One thing no one likes is feeling unrecognized for the work they do. A great and easy way to keep teams motivated is to congratulate them on their work. Milestones can be bigger celebrations, such as lunch out with the team, but even small victories should be acknowledged if only with a pat on the back and a word of encouragement. It goes a long way in improving morale.

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8. Promote Equality in the Workplace

Be on the watch for favoritism. If a team member feels as if they’re not getting the recognition they deserve because of being different, then you’re not leading or motivating the team and could be in violation of legal standards. Everyone on the team is important. That’s why they’re a team. Make them all feel like equal parts of the greater whole.

9. Support Your Team Without Micromanaging

Micromanaging is when a leader is constantly looking over a team member’s shoulder and directing them every step of the way. That is no way to motivate a team, quite the opposite. You’ve assembled the team because of their abilities. Trust in those skills and be there to direct and help as needed, but stay out of their way. Let them do what you’ve hired them to do.

10. Encourage Teamwork & Communication Among Team Members

As you step away from the team and avoid micromanaging, you’ll also want to help them bond as a team. Teamwork is just another way of saying collaboration. It’s based on communication between team members who should be working together. You can help by having regular team-building meetings and activities.

Video: Tips to Motivate Your Team

A project manager is a leader, above all. You can’t manage tasks without motivating people. In this project management training video, Jennifer Bridges, PMP, provides you with some techniques to better motivate your team to set your project up for success.

Jennifer discussed several ways that project managers can motivate their team members. Being a project manager is a little like being a coach. While your team members need that pep talk before the game, they also need to know you’re out there with them in the field, and celebrating successes before the win.

Jennifer offered four key ways you can motivate your team throughout your project’s lifecycle:

  • Set realistic goals
  • Measure performance
  • Celebrate success
  • Know your team

That last point might matter above all else. If you take the time to connect with your team and have brought them into the overall project process, you’ll be able to tell when motivation is down. The best leaders have the trust of their team and can address their team’s concerns.

If you’re interested in trying ProjectManager for free to help motivate your team, sign up for our 30-day trial today.