Leaders motivate their teams and the surrounding stakeholder community to actively work to support the leader’s objectives. Motivation does not happen by chance, there are many traits the leader can display that assist in creating a motivated team. Some of the key traits are:

Communicate effectively. Communicate with transparency, authenticity and clarity and make it a priority to make time to talk to each and every member of your team on a regular basis. You may be busy, but you really can’t afford to allow communication black holes to develop.

Uncertainty creates a void. Unless you, the project manager, fill that void with clear and positive communication, people will assume the worst and act accordingly. Fear and negativity will creep in and dominate their thoughts, behaviours, and actions.

Build trust and empathy. Travelling to meet with team members in person is an investment in building trust as is asking questions. When you show an interest people’s culture, families and personal lives, often they will open up and by expressing interest, you can establish a much deeper connection that leads to a much deeper level of trust

Build relationships. Relationships are the foundation upon which winning teams and organisations are built. It’s much easier to motivate someone if you know them and they know and trust you.

Create a shared vision. Create a vision statement that inspires and rallies your team and organization; a short, simple, rallying cry that means something to the each person on the team. This vision statement must come to life in the hearts and minds of team members. Share it, reinforce it, and inspire your people to live and breathe it every day. A positive vision for the future leads to powerful actions today.

Lead with optimism. Transfer your optimism and vision to others. This inspires others to think and act in ways that drive results. Great leaders inspire their teams to believe they can succeed. As a leader and manager, you are not just leading and managing people, but you are also leading and managing their beliefs and you must utilise every opportunity to transfer your optimism to the team. Both optimism and pessimism are contagious, make sure everyone catches the optimistic bug.

Create purpose-driven goals. Break the vision down into practical, purpose-driven goals. Real motivation is driven by a desire to make a difference; people are most energized when they are using their strengths for a purpose beyond themselves. When team members feel as though the work they do is playing an integral role in the overall success of the company, they are motivated to work harder.

When they feel as though they are working for something more than just the bottom line, and the overall purpose of the project is aligned their personal goals with they feel good about the work they are doing.

Staff the team thoughtfully and nourish your team. Belief plus action equals results. If you don’t believe that something can happen, then you won’t take the actions necessary to create it. If you believe that your team can do big things, they will believe it, too. And that belief will fuel the fires of action and provide you with the results you’re looking for. Surveys consistently demonstrate that employees who think their managers care about them are more loyal and productive than those who do not. If you nourish your team and take the time to invest in them, they will pay you back in productivity, creativity and loyalty. If your team members know that you care about them, they will want to do good work for you. It’s the greatest motivator of all.

Motivating a team is hard work but any of the alternatives are much harder. For more on motivation see WP1048 at


One response to “Motivation

  1. Patrick,
    This topic overlaps with what I’m reading at the moment; under a sub-heading “Create the Conditions for Authentic Motivation”, Alfie Kohn writes in “Punished by Rewards” pp 186-7:

    When employees are asked to describe the conditions they need, or when reflective and experienced managers are asked to describe the conditions they try to create, a variety of suggestions are offered. But there is substantial overlap in the ideas, a consensus that people in managerial positions ought to do these things:

    Watch: Don’t put employees under surveillance; look for problems that need to be solved and help people solve them.

    Listen: Attend seriously and respectfully to the concerns of workers and try to imagine how various situations look from their points of view.

    Talk: Provide plenty of informational feedback. People need a chance to reflect on what they are doing right, to learn what needs improvement, and to discuss how to change.

    Think: If one’s current managerial style consists of using extrinsic motivators, controlling people’s behaviours or simply exhorting them to work hard and become motivated [e.g. by ‘motivational’ speakers—footnoted], it is worth thinking carefully about the long-term impacts of these strategies, It is also worth asking where they come from. A preference for using power in one’s relationships with others, or a reaction to being controlled by one’s own superiors, raises issues that demand attention.

    Most of all, a manager committed to making sure that people are able and willing to do their best needs to attend to three fundamental factors. These can be abbreviated as the “three Cs” of motivation—to wit, the collaboration that defines the context of work, the content of the tasks, and the extent to which people have some choice about what they do and how they do it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s