One of the many responsibilities of a Project Manager is to lead and motivate in order to get the best results from the project’s team members. Projects often require people to complete challenging tasks, within challenging timescales. The question is though, how can a Project Manager best motivate such people to not just want to complete the tasks assigned to them, but to also ‘feel good’ about having done them, and as a result want to be involved with similar tasks in the future?
In some instances, the Project Manager may well have some responsibility and decision-making regarding financial payments to the team members and look to use the payments as a motivational incentive. But the question is, will the ‘lining of palms’ with money be a key factor in truly motivating those people to want to carry out the tasks assigned to them and will it give them satisfaction from completing the tasks?
Some say that “money makes the world go around”?! This implies that money is very important; that it’s ‘the’ most important, or perhaps one of the essential things in life and a lot of events could not happen without it; money solves lots of (or possibly all) problems etc… If this were true, in the context of a project, it would be very handy indeed! How useful it would be where to ensure something gets done first time every time, you simply dish out wads of cash! But would that really ensure things will definitely get done? Will it truly motivate the people to do what you’ve asked of them? Projects are also very often constrained by budgets/available funds and we certainly don’t have an infinite supply of money to throw at people whenever we need to get things done!
What are the TRUE motivators?
Further to this, many people argue that money is a primary motivator. However, for most people money is NOT a ‘true’ motivator – despite what they might think or say. Don’t get me wrong though, money is certainly important and is a personal driver if you lack enough of it to sustain a reasonable level of living, or you are striving to buy a house or perhaps book a holiday. But beyond this, money is not, for the vast majority of people, a sustainable motivator in itself.
The true meaning of value
For all people, there are bigger more sustaining motivators than money. Surveys and research studies have repeatedly shown that other factors motivate more than money. According to Frederick Herzberg, the well-known clinical psychologist and pioneer of job enrichment, factors such as ‘personal recognition’ and ‘sense of achievement’ are true motivators, not money! There are other true motivators according to Herzberg, such as ‘the work itself’, ‘being given responsibility’ and ‘career advancement’.
So how does this integrate with projects and project management? Due to the nature of projects being task-driven, objectives-focused and often high pressured, such true motivators should be high on the Project Manager’s agenda and continuously at the forefront of their mind. The ability to motivate people on an individual and team basis is a fundamental attribute required of any Project Manager as part of the ‘softer’ side of project management.
If the right motivational factors are applied to the right people, in the right way, at the right time and for the right reasons (for example, assigning the right people to the right tasks and giving ‘personal recognition’ on completion of a job well done) then, as a result, those people are more likely to be motivated, and as a consequence the project is more likely to achieve its objectives. After all, it’s the people we rely on to make the things the Project Manager has planned to happen, ‘happen’, and people are far more likely to help deliver a project successfully if they are truly motivated.
Motivation is consequently a fundamental ‘soft’-skill required of any Project Manager and therefore very much relevant to effective project management. After all, Project Managers need to control projects, and the one aspect that can be quite difficult to control is ‘people’, particularly when they are demotivated, as they are far less likely to be focused on completing, or even starting their assigned tasks.
You can learn more about project management ‘soft’-skills, including motivational theories such as Herzberg’s ‘hygiene-factor’ and Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’ motivational theories on SPOCE’s APMFQ, APMPQ and APMPQ for PRINCE2 Practitioners courses.
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SPOCE are the flagship training company for PRINCE2® and have been delivering this accredited courses like PRINCE2® for 25 years. They are a global leader in delivering best practice training for project programme and risk management, offering a wide range of courses which can be tailored to suit any form of training need. For example, public classroom courses, e-Learning and now are one of the first in the industry to offer the ground-breaking virtual classroom training. This training has received fantastic reviews since they introduced it to their delegates in 2017.