Are you a true motivator? Learn how to motivate your team

Are you a true motivator? Learn how to motivate your team
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Pradip PMP

Published on May 30, 2012


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I have discussed with almost 500 project managers and maximum of them are/were not satisfied with the project performance. I thought to discuss it in detail and after doing the same I found that actually the approaches taken from the project managers towards their teammates were very poor. They were not applying the techniques to motivate them at all. Let me clarify you - It is almost impossible to get the project’s good result in this scenario. Next to impossible really! What to do then? How you will motivate your team to bring a good result to your project.

I also have met with so many project managers who are true motivator for the project team. The team has a full confidence on their leader. It is not a magic stick really, you can do this also … Actually they are applying some organizational theories based on motivation in their project. And they are enjoying like any. Good team, motivated team, good project performance, and many more achievements! Let me explain you – what else are these organizational theories based on motivation?

Theory X and Y

Some managers believes that an individual need to supervise at every steps i.e., he or she have no faith on the team members. McGregor categorized this as Theory X, where a team member works under supervision of the manager. There are some other managers who believe that if a task is allocated to a team member he or she does not need to supervise every minute, the member will work perfectly as required. And the manager has full trust on the team member. McGregor categorized them as Theory Y. A project manager can use either of techniques in their project to motivate the team members. It depends whether he or she will apply Theory X or Theory Y. Using theory Y is always a plus.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow believes that an individual is not always motivated through money or security, instead they got motivated if you use their skill set and this is known as self actualization. He has created a pyramid showing how people are motivated stage by stage and he keeps self actualization at the top and physiological needs at the bottom. You can apply this approach in your project. Using the skill set of the people will give you the better result instead of measuring through money always.

McClelland’s Theory of Needs

David McClelland believes that people got motivated through one of the three needs. And a project manager should deal in a different manner with the people falling in each category. These three needs are as follows:

  • Need for Achievement: The people falls under this category like challenges and recognition, so a project manager should provide some challenging task to the people under this category for motivating them.
  • Need for Power: The people like to influence and organize others in the team and consequently a project manager should provide some leadership role to them. They will be highly motivated in this manner.
  • Need for Affiliation: People under this category like cooperation/approval rather than recognition.

So, it is up to a project manager to overview the people in this way so that he can plan how to keep them motivating throughout the life cycle of the project.

Herzberg’s Theory

Herzberg divided few factors as motivating agents and few as hygiene factors. He believes that hygiene factors are not sufficient for motivating a team. As a project manager, you should know what else the hygiene factors are. Let me cite you some examples:

  • Money
  • Working conditions
  • Security
  • Personal life
  • Personality

Herzberg cited some motivating factors as well. They are as follows:

  • Self actualization – using the skill set of the people
  • Growth professionally
  • Recognition

So now you can understand that money is not always for motivating, you can motivate your team through recognition, using their skill, and providing them a leads position. Try it!

About the Author

Pradip Dwevedi, PMP is currently the Lead PMP Trainer / Corporate Trainer at Reputed Global R.E.P.s, India and also the Head – Project Management at Invida Trans IT Solutions PVT LTD. Prior to this, he was Divisional Manager at Stylo Graphic Imaging and before this he was working as Facilitator/Team Leader at Aptara.


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