If you want to be one of those charismatic leaders who inspire and motivate their people and make them follow the same objectives as they themselves are following, you can certainly become one. Leaving apart the organizational skills that a project manager should possess, he/she certainly needs some more skills and abilities to be able to motivate their team. Some of those skills can be:
- Good communication skills
- High self-awareness and self-control
- Emotional intelligence
- Readiness to change
- Problem solving skills
- Conflict resolution skills
- Honesty and straightforwardness
These skills may be developed through hard work and experience. As for now, you can use several useful ideas for team motivation.
Prepare free breakfast for your team
Once or even twice a month, you can make a surprise breakfast party for your team. Plan whatever you are going to cook, purchase the necessary ingredients beforehand to save time. You can involve as many employees in the breakfast-making process as you can. Such initiatives usually encourage conversation within the team. People come to learn new stuff about one another. Besides, if you are doing a complex project that requires tons of concentration and effort, then such surprise breakfasts will surely diffuse tension and help regain strength to continue the work.
If, however, you think you are not good at cooking, you can encourage others to do so. For example, you can organize cooking and/or eating competitions. Several people may improvise by making the breakfast, while others may taste it and tell who wins. Make sure to prepare some kind of a prize for the winner.
Welcome theme days, humor, and fun
Any theme day idea will work here. You can schedule it all. For example, once a month, you can have a Red Scarf day or No Pants day. Some people may just smile and pass by; others may take it serious by walking around the office in shorts. Both ways can be fun, however. Make sure you mention this special day and about the best shorts of the day too, before starting a meeting or when you send emails to your employees.
Take part in fundraising and charity initiatives
Participating in charity events will raise your teams spirit and will make them feel helpful. Do not forget to involve your people in the decision making process as to which cause you should support. You will make them feel appreciated by taking into consideration their opinions too.
Help your team carry out their self-development plans
Employees will appreciate your willingness to help them with their development or training plans. Encourage your team to participate in professional summits and forums. Consider their right to gain more profound knowledge and skills in their field. When possible, provide guidance and proper advice to your team members regarding their self-development opportunities and life-long learning chances.
Make them follow your example
Your people will follow your example only if they like it. Its not hard to please them, though. Have you tried answering their emails immediately? If yes, be sure they adore you. Besides, make sure your employees can approach you any time they have a question to ask or a suggestion to make. Employees do not like the kind of project managers or bosses who sit in their office/corner and who are hardly accessible.
One more thing, if you are planning to do something, then do it! Never make empty promises. For example, if you are not going to review the project paperwork during the night, then never say you are going to work on it the whole night. When you are responsible enough to keep your word, then your employees will try to resemble you.
Start the meetings with a couple of team building games
You can either turn to your HR manager or offer your team some cool team building games yourself. All you need is to just search the web for team building games for offices and you may be surprised by the vast variety of articles on team building games. A couple of nice team building activities and brainstorming techniques will motivate your employees towards the upcoming conversations, especially if the meeting is going to last for several hours.
Organize need-analysis meetings
This is not the need-analysis you may have thought about. What I mean here is to organize meetings for the team to speak up, to tell about their worries and challenges too. Be ready to answer lots of challenging questions. Be flexible enough to accept criticism and to change due to it. Such meetings will also let you mitigate the risks of having severe interpersonal conflicts within the team.
Thus, food parties and competitions, team building games, self-development suggestions, participation in charity events, and organizing speak-up evenings may increase your teams productivity and help you feel a better project manager. One of the most important points here is to make sure you are not afraid of being emotional in front of your team. Be free to get involved in hot discussions and even conflicts. Take as much out of a conflict as you can. Some project managers even trigger conflicts themselves to make the team speak their emotions and thoughts up and to help them learn more about one another. And lastly, always praise your employees for even minor things done right. Most employees need appreciation apart from the salaries they get on a monthly basis. If you have some more extraordinary and useful ideas for motivating your team, just feel free to share them with us.