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3 Simple Ways to Align, Engage, and Motivate Your Project Team

// 2018 Jun 14

Learn how to keep your team motivated and productive.

Check out these 3 simple ways.

Managing a Project Team can have its challenges, after all we are human and have thoughts and emotions that come along with our skills. That is what makes us dynamic and what makes projects ultimately succeed in the end – otherwise we’d leave it up to Artificial Intelligence (AI) to run projects and, well, that will be up for another discussion!

So what are some things that you can do to effectively manage a team of people you must rely on to get things done? Here are a few tips that will help build a more cohesive team and successful project delivery.

    1. Goal Alignment – Clearly connect the purpose of the project to the goals of the organization. When team members understand how the work they do impacts the organizational goals and strategy, they tend to better understand how their work makes a difference. And who doesn’t want to do meaningful work? So connect the dots for them. Ensure the organizational goals are clearly communicated and at the forefront of how projects get approved and prioritized. If you have a PMO, they should be able to help communicate how your project aligns to the greater strategy. If you don’t have a PMO, talk to your leadership team and ensure you have a good understanding yourself so you can clearly communicate the alignment to your team.
    2. Know Their Strengths – Once your team clearly understands how the project aligns to the goals of the organization, take the time to discover the strengths of each team member. As Don Clifton (founder of Strengths Psychology and Inventor of CliftonStrengths) says, “There is no more effective way to empower people than to see each person in terms of his or her strengths.” How great is it when you know you get to put your strengths to work each day? By being able to leverage your strengths in the work you do, you will be more engaged, more energized, and more successful. Therefore, taking the time to get to know your team members’ strengths and aligning those strengths to the goals of the project, you will find the project will execute more efficiently and the project team will be more engaged and energized by the work they are doing.
    3. Celebrate Key Milestones – In most organizations, it is common to move quickly from one project to another without taking the time to thoroughly close out one project before starting another, much less taking the time to recognize and celebrate the team’s success. One way to mediate this is to celebrate along the way. Not only do you take the time to acknowledge key milestones and accomplishments, you are keeping the team fueled for motivation. By celebration, I am not saying throw a party after each milestone or hand out rewards. Just a simple recognition to the team for the milestone completion to reinforce the project’s value and their contributions. One simple way to celebrate may be to take a few minutes during a project meeting to thank the team and bring in breakfast or take the team to lunch. Another great way to celebrate the team is to recognize their efforts when you are updating project stakeholders or the project sponsor on the milestone completion. The key here is to take the time to recognize their efforts and reinforce their contributions to the project.

Managing a project team is certainly more complex and there are many other aspects to be considered than just the ones I have mentioned. These are just a few simple ways to create a space for your project team to align with the project goals, feel they are able to provide value by putting their strengths to work, and stay motivated and engaged throughout the project lifecycle.

Christine Price, PMP, is an Advisor/Instructor at Executive Education at Rutgers School of Business – Camden. She teaches the Certification in Project Management online course. The Project Management certificate program is self-paced and provides one-on-one mentoring from a certified PMP (Project Management Professional). It is an ideal online certificate program for those preparing to sit for the PMP exam or for those that are making a career change into the field of project management. Project Management Certification from Rutgers University is an excellent addition to a resume and is recognized by employees in all industries.

For more information, visit the Certification in Project Management program page.