According the Dwight Eisenhower, Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. As someone who assembled and commanded 160,000 men in the momentous Operation Overload, Eisenhower knew about motivation as it was the greatest amphibious assault in history, organizing the largest air and sea armadas. Motivation is about understanding your employees’ problems and learning how to energize them. Employees may be experts in their fields, but if they aren’t motivated on the job it is hard for them to perform their jobs if they don't want to do it.
These are three reasons why team members lack motivation:
Lack of Buy-In – The team members are not involved at the beginning of the project. Most of the time, team members are told about the tasks during project execution when everything has already been decided (contracts have been signed, vendors are hired, timelines have been decided, etc.). These team members were the last ones to be told that the project has been approved and it is time for them to execute the plan. As such, if they were not consulted about the upcoming projects, their schedule and quality of work will suffer as it would be stressful for them to perform their tasks. The key to encouraging their participation is to be inclusive. They need to be brought in the project early on in its conception. Work will come easy when people are motivated. When people are motivated, they will have a positive outlook as they will be excited to perform their tasks.
Lack of Autonomy – People need to have an independence to perform their tasks. Each person is unique. As such, each team member has a unique skills, experience and preference. People should be given freedom to perform their task when they want to do it and how to accomplish their tasks. There is nothing demotivating than micromanaging and not letting your team member make decisions on their job responsibility. When you micromanage your team member, it is sending them a signal that you don’t trust them to do their jobs. When this happens, it will have a negative consequence to your project. As with any business relationship, trust is a two-way street. You need to gain the trust of your team member and in turn, you need to trust them to perform their jobs. When people are given autonomy, they have a higher job satisfaction and pride in their work.
Lack of Recognition – Most of the time, we are so busy managing the project that we don’t take the time to pause and recognize the great work that the team members do. To change someone’s behavior, you’ve got to change that person’s situation. For individual’s behavior to change, you’ve got to influence not only their environment but their hearts and minds. As a project manager, you have to know what motivates people. There are two types of motivation: Intrinsic and Extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is the desire to do a task for its own sake, meaning the motivation is coming from within themselves. A person is motivated to exercise because it makes them feel good. A person is motivated to learn a language because it makes them knowledgeable and worldly. Whereas with extrinsic motivation, a person will perform a task because they are expecting a reward. With extrinsic motivation, there is always an external factor that dictates the behavior and attitude. A person will be motivated to meet the sales quota, not because they like their jobs, but because they will be rewarded with commissions. To motivate a team member, you have to know they are performing the task because of intrinsic or extrinsic reasons. Once you know, you’ve got to influence not only their environment but their hearts and minds. You could tap into their extrinsic motivation using external factors to encourage your team to have more job satisfaction. Motivated people enjoy their jobs and perform well. It is about having pride in the quality of work that they do. If team members are motivated, they will enjoy what they do and have a great deal of job satisfaction.
For all the talk about motivating employees, it is important that I know that motivation starts with you as a leader. First and foremost, you need to be motivated before you can motivate your team members. It is important that you set my positive tone when dealing with the team members. You can’t be tired and lacking in motivation. They will not listen to you if you have a negative attitude. Negativity is contagious! You will have an open communication with them by providing information as much as possible. Lack of communication can foster rumors and mistrust.
To motivate your team members, you need to change their hearts and mind. Motivation matters a lot. People will do something if they want to do it. I have learned that you can’t control a person’s positive outlook. Every employee is different and factors in motivating them are different as well. To be a successful leader, it is important to know your team members and find out whether their motivation is intrinsic or extrinsic. Be a project manager that believes that employees want more challenging projects and want to be empowered. They want to be able to make a decision about their workflow. You should help by creating an environment that they have a greater responsibility.
You want to run a high-performance team that employees trust each other and like working together. Understanding every employee, knowing their background, culture, life and personality is the first step to unlocking and discovering their individual motivations. Knowing motivations will help me plan of how to manage a team while maximizing their capabilities. Thus, it will enable you team to achieve superior results and job satisfaction.