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Ruth Pearce is an expert on motivating your projectteam. She has even written a book about it.
Ruth was kind enough to talk to me about motivating teams and why it’s something that you should be doing.
Ruth, let’s get started at the beginning. Why is motivation so important in projectteams?
Motivation is intrinsic. It is the reason people do what they do.
We see amazing results when we link the project’s goals to these intrinsic motivators. People will be more creative, think more deeply and consider more options to complete the project.
Ruth PearceWhen people don’t feel connected to their own motivation, it is because they are trying to force behaviour from outside. This is harder work for them and less satisfying.
So how do we do it? What is your top tip for project managers looking to inspire their team to do their best work as project managers?
This question is great! Many of us assume that inspiring teams is difficult, and we believe we can’t do it!
The best approach is to model the behavior you want. People will copy what they see.
It’s something we do as children, teens, and adults. We don’t want our children hanging out with “the wrong kind of influence” and we want them to be surrounded with “the right kind of people.”
We instinctually know that our children will copy what is happening around them, and the same holds true for us at work.
Exuberant and energetic are the keys to joy and zest. You will need to be committed and dedicated if you want to show dedication and commitment. Ask questions if you want people to be curious about the world.
You can also enlist the help and support of others to model certain behaviors. They will not only help the team but will also give you a pattern of behavior to follow.
Motivating someone will make them more engaged in the project. What does “engagement” actually look like?
Motivation is closely linked to engagement. It looks like enthusiasm, focus, excitement, and sparkle in the eyes.
You will likely notice more creativity and innovation, and the room is more positive.
How can you get engagement?
Engaging others is a great way to get to know them.
If you have someone who is curious, loves to learn, assign them to work on the project that involves data collection or research. Ask someone you love to show kindness and love to help the team to come up with ideas for a group activity.
Meetings are a great way to identify strengths and keep people interested. Take a note of the strengths you see in people, and then thank them afterwards. Be specific about what you saw, and why you value it.
Your work is centered on strengths-based project management. Tell us more.
Strengths-based projectmanagement is a method of project management that focuses more on the people than the process.
There is so much information available about the processes to use, but 70% of project success (and possibly as high as 81%) depends on the human side. (Gertman et. al., 2001.)
Strength-based projectmanagement begins with the project manager becoming aware of and applying their own strengths on a daily basis. Next, the process will be extended to the project team, and then to other stakeholders who will use different tools and techniques.
We cover character strengths, mindsets,learning and planning styles, and appreciation inquiry to build skills as a project manager that increases engagement.