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How to motivate your project team

A variety of factors affect motivation in the workplace. Big corporations might offer generous bonuses and perks as an incentive. Cool start-ups often encourage creativity and sharing new ideas.

Other companies might be keen to promote a healthy workplace. All these things can boost motivation.

But what about increasing motivation in a project team? As a project manager, you probably can’t offer a bonus or dictate company policy. However, there are plenty of other things you can do to motivate your team. Read on to learn more!

1. Meetings are essential

Don’t underestimate the power of meetings! Whether you use agile or traditional methods (or even no method at all!) you no doubt have meetings with your team. Though you might view meetings as a routine part of the project, it’s worth noting that meetings also act as strong motivators. Having to show up for a meeting and discuss progress means each team member works hard to complete their work.

As project manager, you can also use meetings as a safe place to have open discussions, encourage feedback and take recommendations into consideration. Keep your meetings relaxed and friendly but take notes to ensure you act on issues and remember feedback.

2. Praise work, ideas and improvements

We all like receiving recognition for a job well done. It makes us feel good and motivates us to repeat the same standard of work. It is perhaps one of the best and easiest ways to motivate your team. When someone has done a good job, just express your admiration. You can also compliment them when they have a good idea, make an improvement, or even if they just bring positive energy to the project!

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3. Set goals and expectations

At the beginning of the project, it is vital to set your expectations and goals for both the team and the project. This ensures your team know where they stand, what to expect from you and how to organise themselves. If they don’t know these things, you’ll end up with a chaotic project, a lack of trust and a demotivated team.

So, if you don’t mind what time they start and allow working from home, tell your team! You should also set out your expectations in terms of when meetings are held and how best to communicate. Setting deadlines and goals is also essential, though this will depend on the nature of the project, the industry you’re working in and the project method used.

4. Keep criticism at bay

Managing projects is perhaps one of the most stressful jobs around, especially when deadlines are looming, you’ve gone over budget or problems keep delaying the finish date. As a result, it can be difficult not to criticise team members for their mistakes when the pressure is on!

Perhaps one of the biggest demotivators is having a moody manager. No one likes being shouted at, criticised, blamed or patronised. Instead, try to help your team learn from their mistakes. Have a chat and explain why their approach wasn’t correct. Ask them what they could’ve done differently, and what a better approach might be in the future.

5. Organise fun events

Project teams normally work closely together each day, often under pressure to achieve deadlines and stay within budget. Don’t be the manager that’s all work and no play! Inject some fun into the project and celebrate team success. This will act as a strong motivator, giving your team some time to relax informally together outside work. Try going for drinks, dinner or having an office party when you’ve all achieved your deadline or delivered the project.


Whether you’re a new project manager or seasoned veteran, motivating your team can often seem like a huge hurdle to overcome. However, it’s an important aspect of the job that is so often overlooked. Much of the above advice can easily be achieved by having a positive outlook and strong organisation skills. In fact, a highly motivated team is actually pretty easy to achieve!

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