Tag Archives: management advice

Ten ways to motivate your project team

Having worked in a diverse range of businesses from a large blue chip automotive organisation, mid size telematics company to an incredibly small recruitment business I have come across a number of management styles and found some really work and others which truly do need locking away. Most of my motivational work has come through managing globally dispersed teams which is a little harder to execute the below suggestions however I have been fortunate enough to be involved in some fantastic projects in the UK and these tips really do work.

1. Inclusion – this seems more than obvious but how often have you overlooked a team member as “this part isn’t relevant to them”? I agree that it is both wasteful and unproductive to invite members of the team to meetings which aren’t deemed relevant, however an invite should be extended none the less but more importantly ALL team members should be put on copy of the meetings outcome minutes.

2. Meetings with a twist – try to think of ways which will jazz up meetings, keeping them fresh and productive. Set your goals to be met at the start and try taking turns each meeting with different members of the team facilitating – ask each facilitator to use a different method of presentation, keeping the format fresh.

3. Offer up tasks for grabs – there is always a huge list of tasks requiring attention in projects; why not offer some out for other members of the team to take a fresh approach on. The more junior members of the team will appreciate the opportunity to gain insight into different areas and taking this collaborative approach works to pull teams together; ideally the team members picking up the tasks will be choosing them rather than being lumbered with them.

4. Socialise – we may not choose to spend our weekends with our work colleagues, but an evening set aside once a month to go for a bar snack and drink on a Thursday afternoon is a good idea to get the team together in a more relaxed environment. Don’t talk shop – just let people talk and get to know each other outside the pressures of the office. Don’t force the gatherings but ensure all are very welcome to come along.

5. Rewards – some may argue that the reward is your salary, this is the kind of attitude managers with no responsiveness to people management come up with. Rewards can be little things such as food treats and a “thank you” every now and then. But if you have a team working through lunch times over a week to ensure a project is brought to close on time – you could buy the team lunch – either something delivered in or when the project is delivered, take them all out for lunch.

6. Team building events – steer clear of fusty outsourced “motivation” workshops and think about what will really engage the team, an activity which involves some stellar team work such as orienteering for an afternoon.

Leading on to….

7. Team lead activities – ask the team to get involved with designing activities rather than imposing what you think is needed on them.

8. Action based learning – give the team a challenge where they request support but have to define what they need. This type of activity is very beneficial as it promotes reflection on your own actions and doing the activities rather than being instructed.

9. Charity work – give something back to the local community such as getting the team to build a playground, decorate a deserving persons house or clear a wasteland into a nature reserve. Not only will you draw the team together, you will be helping others and what a fantastic piece of PR for the business.

10. Value your team – quite possibly one of the biggest ways to generate team spirit is for management to value the team. Rather than talking about “how much this is costing” but focussing on the benefits to be generated. Be patient, not all results are yielded immediately so accept that real change takes time.

Writing a job advert

How many times as a hiring manager have you engaged in to recruiting a new employee – most organisations have some form of HR process which you must adhere to and typically this means liaising with HR to draw up a job description and a job advert to advertise externally. As you are busy you arrange a meeting to talk through the role with a HR representative and leave them to write the JD and an advert. Often this is a mistake, after all you are the one who knows what you need and leaving your description open to interpretation from the HR person can lead to old job descriptions being reworded (sometimes not even that) or a JD being written by someone who is unsure what the role really is.

Writing a job description is good practice for you to really prioritise your wish list and give a little background to the team and department the new employee will be working in. Once you have written the document you need to think about how to take the core competencies and write them into an advert which will attract applications. No matter how difficult the role may be to fill due to constraints such as budgets you can still attract good strong candidates with the right kind of information.

In project management recruitment it can be the case that a well experienced project professional is required to join a project or programme at a crucial point, the salary offering is below market rate for someone with so much experience but none the less your needs are just that. So making the advert as attractive as possible is key to drawing in interest.

Not all project professionals are gunning after the big ££’s – in fact in my experience most are after a gripping challenge and looking to expand their experience. Therefore giving information about the challenges and why you need the more experienced candidate is not off-putting (if it is to some, then you don’t want them on board anyway), it can be the reason for applications. Something experienced project professionals gain from joining a challenging environment is further experience but also they just love to rise to the challenge and are not fazed by failing projects – they take pride in bringing projects back into scope.

A big mistake when writing job adverts is to not give any real detail about the projects to be worked on – now I know some pieces of work are sensitive and so you cannot name them but giving an idea of the type of project in context will help you gain applications from candidates with the right backgrounds.

For example here is a small piece which can introduce the role in a nutshell:

An experienced project support professional with a background in PMO and exposure to supporting circa 10 concurrent projects with interdependencies and good knowledge of manufacturing required to join a small established team to deliver a variety of business change projects ranging from new system roll outs to cultural change initiatives.

This can then lead into a little about the business and the challenges it currently faces such as; globally dispersed teams, cultural challenges, adversity to change etc. Then lead into the core competencies required such as; risk & issue management, planning, reporting, workshops, coaching etc. Finally talk through the advantages of joining such a team, talk through the maturity level of the PMO and how you envisage this person to help drive forward practices and really be a part of the organisation.

By writing a generic but informative advert you will not only hit keywords for those searching online for new roles, but also avoid dozens (if not hundreds) of applications from those who are not suitable for the role. Of course you will always get a few applications from unsuitable candidates (unfortunately I have yet to find a way to stop this completely) but on the whole you will be attracting the right calibre of candidate.