Motivating The Project Team In Difficult Times
By Jorge Dominguez
In general, organizations must motivate employees at all times as part of their corporate culture. Motivation has to trickle down from top to bottom from the various levels of management through the lowest levels of the staff.
Project Managers, as middle-managers we are, play an important role in motivating the project team, but how do we do it in tough times? Everyone’s motivation gets easier when it is already part of that corporate culture; the Project Manager motivates the project team and he or she gets motivated by his or her manager, and so it goes.
There are many well publicized motivational techniques, but the best advice is for everyone to stay focused on their tasks and not let anything distract you. If you don’t focus and get distracted you may be a victim of the next round of layoffs. Continue to get involved in your assignments and with your team. The Project Manager can also play a very important role in ensuring that every member of the team is working according to the plan, and the relationship you, as Project Manager, have with the team is crucial because the team will follow if this relationship is good.
Make sure you can keep as many things “as is” as possible. The worst thing you can do is introduce changes in the middle of all the anxiety, however, if changes must be made ensure that they don’t affect the morale of the people and the way people go about doing their work.
Do not skip any step of the project management process that is established just because “things have changed or are changing” and “things are bad”. Continue to set expectations early on, continue to manage the project, continue to control the project, continue to verify and validate. Ensure that project status reports are accurately reflecting reality. Act as if everything is normal and it will feel as though it is as it is transmitted this way to the rest of the team.
Ensure the team is producing at a normal pace and if not find out why early on and address the causes. This can save some jobs.
Motivating the project team must be done especially careful and well in difficult times, when the business is suffering, when the whole economy is in a downturn and when layoffs are the talk of town.
Jorge Dominguez, PMP®