Category Archives: Motivational Tips

How to Motivate Your Team

Becoming a project manager is a big step from simply working on projects. A PM usually has to juggle many different tasks, deadlines and resources – human resources being just one of these. Rather than simply doing a job to reach a goal, you need to delegate these jobs and motivate others to complete them.

Whilst training in Project Management will teach you processes, and the technical side of things, it’s always important to be aware of the above – that your new status will mean more people management. Taking the time for some specific management training will help you get more out of your team – and ensure the success of your project.  To get you started, here are our tips for motivating your team.


Communication is critical in management – not only with the stakeholders above you, but with your team. To motivate them and ensure their hard work, you need to think about their preferred methods of communication and adapt your own behaviour accordingly. Although they are unlikely to ever realise what you’ve done in this respect, they will be motivated by it!

Be a Good Example

If you set the tone as a good communicator, hard worker, expert in your field and of being fair and just then your employees will respect you. If they lose this respect through any of these channels then they may not feel the drive to work as hard – either consciously or unconsciously.


For those new to project management – or those who have perhaps lost sight of the importance of people management – it may be hard to delegate effectively and relinquish control. People work hard when they are given responsibility that they want to fulfil – so let them have it. It’s not only your job to motivate your team, but it’s not your job to do everything yourself.

Give Them Room to Grow

This may not be possible within smaller projects, but it is in larger ones and when you work with the same team regularly. Make sure you identify those who could be given more responsibility and/or promotions – establishing a culture of progression and growth is key to keeping people motivated.


Fundamental to project management is breaking your main goals into smaller objectives. Make sure your staff are praised and rewarded (the praise can often be enough reward!) at each step of the way. Don’t allow them to doubt their performance if their performance is good.

Pick the Right Team

This should almost go without saying, but it’s the most crucial part of the process. Once you are in the position of choosing the right team for the project, you put responsibility for their performance back on yourself. It’s important, therefore, to think carefully about who is most suitable for the specific project at hand.

You will need to put some thought into who you’ve chosen, how they like to communicate, and what motivates them. You can then choose which of the tips above, and to what extent, will work to motivate different people.

Guest Post was written by: Andy Trainer,  whom works for Silicon Beach Training, leading providers of training in Management, Project Management and more.

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John Foley’s High Performance Framework

“What I learned most from being with the Blue Angels has nothing to do with flying itself.  I learned that the process of engaging at this high level, when my very life depended on successful communication, accurate information, trust and follow through, is the same process leaders and successful individuals use to achieve excellence.” – John Foley

Imagine being part of an elite, highly trained team who routinely achieve levels of extreme precision, then asked to improve your performance by 300%.  John had to transition from a Navy carrier pilot to Lead Solo of the Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team and learn to fly a plane at speeds of more than 500 miles per hour & in formations as close as 18 inches from his teammates.  John became one of the top pilots in the world by applying principles that would become the basis for his unique Diamond Performance® Framework.  By using the Blue Angel methodology as a model, he developed a framework for excellence that has informed his life in a profound way and has guided his approach to achievement.

I had the honor to hear John Foley speak at our Peak Performer Event in Arizona this past week for my work and I wanted to share a few highlights from his very inspiring speech.  Each of John’s frameworks below can be implemented in any organization or position, but I wanted to relate these key points in the context of Project Management.

The Diamond Performance® Framework:

  1. High Performance Zone: The gap between your current state and your goals for the future.  By decreasing this gap, you’re in the “High Performance Zone.” What obstacles are preventing you from moving from your current reality towards your stated goals?  As a Project Manager, we often think of ways to take the current state/process and reach towards the highest potential by increasing efficiencies for an organization.  Is time, resources, costs, or something else preventing you from reaching this desired goal?  As a project manager, it is our duty to reach these goals, even though it may take an army to accomplish them, so what can be done to achieve these goals?
  2. Belief Levels: The process of developing a vision for your true potential and deepening the commitment and buy-in to that vision.  Belief Mindset is about the: Process, Product, People, and Purpose that is larger than yourself. What are your Limiting and Liberating Beliefs?  As a Project Manager, do you belief in all that you do in your day-to-day position in managing different projects?  Do you belief in the processes you implement/improve upon, the products/services you support, your project team members, and having a purpose to wake up each more and perform your duties at work for the organization you work at?  
  3. Brief: The practice of creating disciplined standards for preparation and planning through focus, processes, and checklists.  Reflect on each grateful moment that occurred in the past 24 hours and think about what you are about to look forward towards in the next 24 hours.  What are the key disciplines you, or your team, must adhere to as you close performance gaps?  What distractions must be identified and avoided?  As a Project Manager, before you head into work, have thought about the positive things that you have done recently and plan to do?  It’s important to have a positive mindset before walking in the doors to work each morning, as it sets the tone for the day.
  4. Center Point: The alignment of individuals and teams on priorities and a focal point.  Is your Center Point in alignment with your team’s Center Point?  As a Project Manager, are your priorities in alignment with your organization and your team members?  It is important to make sure everyone is on the same page, so everyone is working towards the same goals. 
  5. Contracts: The system of using agreements to build trust in order to achieve greater levels of execution.  Build Trust is broken into 3 parts: Competent, Commitment, and Character. What are key verbal contracts between you, your teammates and clients?  As a Project Manager, it is important to build trust in your project team, so others can rely on you to complete tasks and helps to build a positive reputation.
  6. Debrief: The system for continuous improvement that creates an environment of open and honest communication and reinforces accountability, trust, and teamwork.  Be open, place no blame on others, provides an opportunity to reflect, and causes you to look inward first. Does your team have a commonly understood and adhered to process for creating a safe environment, for capturing critical learning’s, and for celebrating success?  As a Project Manager, I refer to this step as our Lesson’s Learned sessions, as it is so important to do at the end of any project.  This helps you to continue to do what is working well and improve on those items that are not going so well.
  7. Glad to Be Here: The attitude of gratefulness and thankfulness for: being alive, opportunities, and people.  What is it about your organization, its people, and your work opportunities that give you that greatest sense of gratitude?  As a Project Manager, this is a great statement and mindset to have, as not everything is positive in life, but causes you to reflect and remember what is most important.
Are you Glad to Be Here?  Are you going to seize the moment?
John Foley can be contacted at:
Twitter: @johnfoleyinc

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Project Management Development

I was contacted by Robert Kelly from Kelly Project Solutions a few weeks to see if I would be interested in being a guest on his show called KPS Chatter.  I was quite honored by his invitation, as I first met Robert on Twitter after we were both featured on The Project Box’s Top 10 Project Managers on Twitter earlier this year and have enjoyed reading his blogs and content he posts on Twitter.

Below, you will find a few of the questions I was asked, but please feel free to listen to the entire 15-Minute KPS Chatter Show. I love his KPS Chatter shows, as they are quick 15-minute interviews full of great content and starts off any day on a great note, so I encourage you to listen to others too! Thank you Robert for the honor & opportunity to be a guest on your show, as I really appreciate it!

Question: In speaking with fellow practitioners, how do you feel organizations are doing with regards to formal development of their project management resources?  

I find project management is a unique field to be in whereas most people don’t tell their parents they want to be a project manager when they grow up (Correction: if we have grown up yet!), but more that their employer might find traits in an employee, such as: strong organizational or communication skills, highly motivated individual, and have the ability to be assigned a task, pull together a group of people to get the job done, and execute a project on time and within budget, and make them a project manager.

Therefore, most of us in the field do not receive formal education, but undergo possibly a mentorship program with an experienced project manager or learning by fire per say.  I feel formal education does provide you with a great foundation, but you have to have the ability to take those tools that you learned and test them out in the real world.  I am the type of person that if I don’t know something, I am very curious to read content on the web or pick up a book and talk to others in the field to find out more, but I also am the type of person that I like to attend a class, as such by taking a project management course at my local university this semester.  Self-learning does take motivation to do, but also formal education it’s not a cookie-cutter approach where you’re provided a complete toolbox that will always work in all occasions, so you’re constantly polishing your skills with on-the-job training or by attending formal classes at a university or seminars.

Question: Why is important to move from the accidental manager and invest in PM development?

I think if you want to become an even better, more efficient project manager that can reduce the time to execute a project, keep a project within budget and in scope, and know what others have tired in the past, it comes down to learning and investing in Project Management development, as further education can make a Project Manager’s life so much easier by knowing some tips and steps that can help increase their day-to-day skill-set.

Question: What would you say is a good development portfolio? 

I feel a good development portfolio is one that includes:

  • Read books
  • Join a local PMI chapter
  • Join twitter & read other PM’s blogs, increase your PM network & relationships, join PMChat
  • Attend a college class, whether it is a project management, communications, or leadership or a management course
  • Attend seminars
  • Learn from other Project Managers’s in your local community, as most are more than happy to help you throughout your journey as a project manager
Please comment below with your thoughts and comments, as I would love to hear them!

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Delegation in Project Management, Part 2

Now that you have decided to delegate some work to another individual, I thought it may be helpful to have a checklist of items you should do when you delegate work to another person:

  1. Clearly Articulate:
    1. What is the job responsibility is?
    2. What is the desired outcome/end goal Is?
    3. What is expected and what are the deliverables?
    4. What is the schedule or deadlines in the job responsibility?
    5. Who can help if the individual has any issues?
    6. Why they were chosen for the job?  This provides you with an opportunity to provide positive feedback about the individual, such as: the person has a great attention to detail or they have a great sense of developing better processes to increase efficiencies.
  2. Provide Past Job History:  How the job was developed/came to you, as the tribal knowledge should be passed down and not forgotten.  This knowledge may be helpful in future decisions
  3. Define the Boundaries: Where are the lines of authority drawn, what level of responsibility does the individual have, and what they are accountable for.  Example: If the person has to go through 5 people to get proper sign off before they can implement X, this is important information to pass along to the individual
  4. Buck Stops With You: Understand that you can delegate some responsibility, but you still are accountable in making sure the task is completed and up to standards
  5. Provide Proper Training: In-house hands-on training, classes taught at an institute, and/or documentation
  6. Provide Adequate Support:  Be available to answer questions by having a good communication path
  7. Focus on the Results:  Rather nitpick detail-by-detail of how the work should be done, you should focus on the overall accomplishment, as your way may not be the most efficient way
  8. Build Motivation and Commitment:  What does the future hold for taking on this new role, such as: financial rewards, future opportunities, recognition
  9. Establish and Maintain Control:  Agree upon a schedule of checkpoints to answer any questions and make sure everything is being handled.  This gives you the ability to make any necessary modifications to meet a deadline or if things are not working out as planned
  10. Review Final Work: Review and provide feedback on the individual’s work results, so the person understands they are held accountable for what results they produced.  If you are not satisfied with the work and accept it, the individual does not fully learn the job responsibility or worse, accept the fact that poor work is acceptable

Finally, it is important to recognize and reward the individual for their hard work.  Showing appreciation for others can sure go a long way towards building a strong team member’s self-confidence and efficiencies, which creates a win-win situation.

What are other key points should be discussed when delegating.  Please comment below. 


The Patient Project Manager

One word: Patience.  It may be an easy word to say, but not always easy to do.  So, why is that? 

As a project manager, we are faced with managing several different projects, which can lead to stress, worrying about meeting deadlines, anxious about seeing the end of a project, or even bombarded by tons of e-mails/phone calls, when you have a full plate of work.

Why is Being Patient so Important?

  • Not only is being patient a good practice at work, but also in your personal life, as it will make others feel better and happier to be around you/work with you
  • It is a form of showing respect and care for others
  • The positive behavior can spread throughout the organization and at home, which makes both environment that much better to live/work in, but if you’re stressed and impatient, this behavior can also spread
  • Can lead to a healthier life

What Can You Do To Become/Show You’re More Patient?

  • Put a Smile on Your Face: Wither you are talking on the phone, writing an e-mail, or talking to someone, put a smile on when you talk to someone in person or on the phone or through e-mail
  • Put Yourself in Other People’s Shoes: This helps to remind you that things do take time
  • Expect the Unexpected:  Your plans don’t always work out as intended, so accept the twists and turns in life gracefully and keep expectations realistic
  • Remember What Matters Most: If you don’t focus on what matters most in life, then it fuels impatience.  Be generous in forgiveness, grateful for what you have, and take full advantage of what matters the most in life.  Don’t get worked up over the small stuff
  • Patience Can Get You Places:  If you work hard at something and be patient, it can open more doors of opportunities in life, whether it is job related in tasks or positions or relationships with others

Life can be crazy as a project manager with several balls you may be juggling at any given time, but it’s important to take a moment to reflect on your behavior, as that behavior (impatient/stressed/worried), can all be easily sensed by your project members and spread throughout the organization.

It takes practice to become more patient and can certainly be hard at times, but remember, for every minute you are impatient/upset, you lose 60 seconds of be happy!

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Motivational Do’s and Don’t In Project Management

Motivation has been found to be the #1 influence on people’s performance, so how to determine how to best motivate your project team members can be quite difficult.  Assuming that team members are paid a fair salary, project team members can be more motivated by such things as: 

  • Recognition/Attention (From Project Manager/Team Member’s Manager/Executives)
  • Achievement
  • The Work Itself
  • Responsibility
  • Advancement
  • The Chance to Learn New Skills
  • Paid Time Off, as an Appreciation of a Team Members Hard Work
  • Write a Hand-Written Thank You Note to Show Your Appreciation
  • Social Gatherings, such as: lunches, offsite dinner, softball game or movie night
  • Give Each Team Members a Rewarding Job Title
  • Ask Team Members to Take on a Leadership Role
  • Team Spirit Awards or Take a Team Photo to Display for All to See
  • Pizza/Bagels/Cookies/Cakes: Surprise your team members with a special treat
  • Provide Feedback in a Positive Manner

Motivational Don’t:

  1. Don’t Assign Unrealistic Deadlines:  Few people will work hard if they know that a goal/deadline is impossible to achieve
  2. Ignore Good Efforts/Hard Work: People will work harder if they feel like their work is appreciated.  Most times, all this takes is public praise for a job well done
  3. Create a LowQuality Project: If the project is not of high-quality, few people can be proud of working on that a project that is not meaningful or beneficial
  4. Give Everyone on the Project a Bonus:  If everyone on the project team receives the same reward, then high-quality/hard-workers will believe that mediocre work from other team members is acceptable and their effort and dedication of going above and beyond is not valued the same
  5. Make an Important Decision Without the Team’s Input: Getting Buy-ins from your team members is very important.  If the project managers needs to make a decision that greatly affects the members in his or her team, that he or she should involve the project team in the decision-making process.
  6. Maintain Poor Working Conditions: Having a good working environment increases motivation in the team, such as: lighting, desk space, technology, privacy from interruptions, and reference resources.

What tips have you used to help motivate your project team members?


Motivation in Project Management

To achieve a successful project delivery, a project manager has to do more than simply work into the predefined project management constructs and techniques. One of the leading factors that affect the productivity of the project team is motivation. A project manager should try to create a positive work environment where the individual can be inspired, encouraged, and stimulated in order to achieve great accomplishments. Motivation also helps to foster teamwork and collective initiatives to reach the common goals of the project. You may think that good project managers motivate their staff by rewarding them with money and bonuses, but most project managers agree that this is the last thing that should be done. The more often you reward team members with money the more they expect it and most times, monetary motivation won’t work.

Some important tips to help the project manager motivate their team members would be:

  1. Find out what motivates each team member and make these part of the project goals, as this will help the project manager the ability to connect with each team member to environments, assignments, responsibilities, and objects that foster personal motivation
  2. Create an positive and productive environment
  3. Provide clear communication and ownership of each defined task
  4. Ensure that the person has the right tools, training, and guidance to accomplish each task
  5. Follow-up on the status of each task and provide guidance, if necessary, and hold each team member accountable for the results of each task
  6. Whatever motivates me, will motivate others
  7. Team members love to receive formal awards
  8. If you feel like you need to give some kind of reward for motivational purposes, try a pizza or free dinner or even a kind letter or award, as these often have much more effective results
  9. The best project leader is a strong cheerleader

One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy.  One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself” – Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

What motivates you in a project?

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