Tuomo Malinen
Apr 15, 2011
Posted in category: 2011 Member Articles

How to motivate people in a project?

Have you ever run into a situation where you have skilled people in a project, but the motivation among the people is not in the right level? The project schedule is tight (as it normally is in projects), the people in the project are doing other projects at the same time, there are resource issues that make the situation even tighter, the customer is expecting results today and so on…

You know the situation is not ideal and you personally have limited options to influence it. However, you should use the options you have at the very beginning of the project or at the latest when you notice the situation. By doing so you have reacted to the situation and shown the people that you are there to support them.

Supporting can mean different things, but these things rise frequently up from my experience:

Listen to the people – ask what their personal goals or issues are. Yes, the personal issue can also be “I just want to do my job properly and play golf with my friends” – Accept that. You may have gained valuable information even though you still don’t realize it.

Listen to the people – understand what the people are saying. By understanding the root causes you can also start thinking of ways to handle the situation. And doing so, you may have also cleared away some bigger issues at the same time.

Listen to the people – give the people some room of their own and have faith in them. Try to avoid micro managing them. To do this you should have made the project goals clear so that everyone in the project understands the roles and responsibilities that are expected from them.

And finally listen to yourself – go and play golf when the situation allows it.

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