You know how it goes: After weeks of intensive, focused work, the team can start to feel the burnout. Despite best efforts, motivation can lag on long-term projects, leaving staff feeling tired and uninspired as they hit the daily grind. As a project manager, it’s time for you to take up your most important role: team leader.
But finding the right words to overcome lethargy and create an energized atmosphere is hard, especially during long-term IT endeavors. Share these three things with the team to keep motivation high:
The project vision
It’s hard to move forward without the end goal in mind. Make it a point to consistently reiterate the project’s primary objective to inspire the drive to achieve it. Mention it during team meetings, send an email detailing the project’s progress, or even put up a big poster board in the office to showcase your team’s progress towards the end goal. Celebrating the progress towards the project vision is an excellent way to keep your staff motivated.
It’s as inevitable as death and taxes: Everyone has bad days. Maybe the client requests a significant change to an already completed section of the project or the tests reveal a software bug that just won’t go away. Perhaps a team member made a huge mistake and are panicking over how to rectify it. Whatever the case, show your team you’re there to support them. Sharing genuine encouragement helps staff to dust it off and move on, fostering a more supportive, and therefore collaborative, workplace.
The word “criticism” has a negative connotation. It brings to mind other unpleasant words, like “snarky” or “mean.” But criticism, presented constructively, is the driving force behind an excellent project team. It creates the professional space for manager and team member to discuss projects and make a plan to improve. Don’t be afraid to offer criticism of your staff’s work, but provide emphasis on how to improve the project instead of only pointing out the flaws.
During a project lifecycle, your team will go through ups and downs, extreme highs and deep lows. But by reminding them of the project vision, and providing encouragement and constructive criticism, you can create a safe project environment for them to excel.