At the most fundamental level, team members will only be truly motivated if they work on projects that have meaning and purpose and that give them a sense of achievement and satisfaction. People fully engage when their individual aims and purposes are aligned with their job. They need to feel that their core personal values are being fulfilled by the work they do.
People have different values, aims and purpose and what motivates one might not motivate another. Money and status motivates some people, while others are more driven by the chance to be creative and innovative. Some people flourish in highly collaborative environments, and others need a quiet space to produce their best work. Some people love change and new challenges, whereas others prefer certainty and stability. The list goes on. There are as many combinations of motivational factors as there are
The questions you need to ask are “What motivates each person on my team?”, “What will enable them to do what they do even better?” and “How can I best utilize each person’s strengths?”
Spend quality time with people
The only way to find out what the values and qualities of your team members are is to spend time with them. It sounds simple, yet many managers don’t invest the necessary time to fully understand the human capital of their team as they are too focused on getting immediate tasks and assignments completed.
All you need to do is to set time aside for one-on-one catch-ups with your team members (or team leaders) on a regular basis – and stick to it! Ask people what matters most to them in their work and what they like about it. Listen to their views without interrupting and seek to understand what their unique talent, aspirations and career goals are. When you genuinely listen, you will find out that truly motivates people and what you can do to create synergy between personal and professional goals. Then provide them with work that play to their strengths and adjust the environment to suit each person where possible. This will help them become high performers on your project.
Imagine your team members were volunteers
Another powerful thing you can do is to play with the idea that all of your team members were volunteers. Imagine that they are giving up their personal time to work on your project but that they are not being paid for it. Close you eyes now and visualize how that would be. Imagine that even though they receive no income for the work they do, they would still do it because it would fulfill them in other ways.
In which ways could you motivate your team to work even if they got no income for it?
1. On a blank piece of paper make a list of all your team members or team leaders.
2. Write down at least 10 strengths for each team member or team leader.
3. Write down at least 10 things that motivate each person.
4. For each person, note down 3 changes you can make to the work they do which would increase their motivation and commitment.
Read Part III here.