To ensure the team's full participation, every team member must trust and respect the project manager. However, this is not enough. They also must put forth their best work. For example, team member Tom may think project manager Sue is a nice person whom he trusts and respects. Yet the reality is nothing about Sue's project influences Tom to make a special effort to do the job well. Sue must use motivating practices to gain Tom's full task effort and cooperation.
Motivation through Individual Attention
About 70 years ago, a major experiment was conducted at a large manufacturing facility to determine what motivates people in the workplace. The answer came back loud and clear: If you pay attention to workers and they discover that they are respected for what they do, they will try to live up to those expectations. In the previous example, Sue clearly must demonstrate to Tom that she respects his ability, which she can do best through individual attention.
The need for individual attention arises over and over. It can be accomplished in many different ways and requires just a little extra effort, such as a short note recognizing a special contribution left on a computer screen, for example, or an e-mail message or personal visit to the worker's workplace. Or, it can be in the form of a one-on-one conversation.
In recent years, "empowerment" has become a buzzword for motivation. Exactly what it means is not always clear. Self-managing work teams are empowered to manage themselves, which seems to have a motivating influence for many, but not all, people. Some people prefer a "just tell me what to do and let me do it" approach. This also occurs in a project team, and because IPM is built around full team participation, the project manager must go easy on those individuals who resist and draw their contributions in other ways. This can mean a dose of individual attention in the form of a one-on-one conversation with the "resister" between meetings.
Another instance where this approach works well is that of a team member needing help to solve a problem, such as how to prepare the all important task time and effort estimates. Here the project manager can step in and review similar past projects with the team member or identify knowledgeable people who can be queried to obtain a good estimate.
If help is given by leading a team member through a series of questions, the questioning itself may bring forth the answer to the problem, or at the very least, open up a new train of thought. Giving individual attention is good; however, recognition with rewards is the strongest motivator.
Motivation through Recognition with Rewards
The project manager must recognize each significant contribution made by a team member and develop mechanisms to reward that person. The reward policy should be announced at the beginning of the project to create an added incentive toward good performance. The task-by-task nature of project work makes outstanding contributions easy to recognize; those contributions for planning and execution are always a matter of record, as they are noted in the project Gantt chart.
It is part of the project manager's job to record such contributions. Recognition and rewards, if possible, should follow soon afterward. Recognition can take many forms. At the very least, a memorandum of recognition, an "orchid letter," a special written pat on the back, should be sent to the team member's regular manager, human relations department, and to the team member. Regular postings of team member achievements are good provided that no one is left out. If the project manager has an opportunity to give time off, free entertainment tickets, or other perks, they should be husbanded carefully, with criteria set up for their disposal, and used as much possible. However, sometimes the informal gesture of leaving an "attaboy" note on a computer monitor, or surprising the team member with a handful of balloons or a batch of cookies works even better! Regardless of form, the project manager must be sincere with recognition.