May 262011

If ordered, soldiers will walk to the front. If inspired, they will die for the mission. – Himanshu

Inspiration is mightier than any order. In IT (Information Technology) industry, Project Managers get a group of intelligent people who when perform can make even the most difficult project successful. A motivated team member works collaboratively with a little direction and brings energy in team. You, as a Project Manager, have to keep the team highly motivated.

How to motivate (inspire) team?

There are always two kinds of factors that motivate - 1) Hygiene factors, and 2) Motivation factors. Presence of Hygiene Factors do not motivate but absence of them de-motivates. On the other hand, Motivation Factors truly motivate. A project must have many Hygiene Factors and should have at least a few Motivation Factors.

Hygiene Factors (presence of hygiene does not motivate but absence of it de-motivates)
  1. Set vision. Everyone should know the bigger picture and where one stands. If end result is clear then people will strive to achieve that end result.

    Uniform - A must have

  2. How does it affect me? Keep the team informed of any thing that may affect team. Team is especially concerned about the visibility, his/her area of influence (turf), perks, work schedule/vacation, personal goals.
  3. Equip team appropriately. Ensure that team has required expertise to perform the required role
  4. Promote collaboration. Do not compare two team members. People should seek help from each other. Social interaction keeps people involved and motivated.
  5. Promote only desired behavior. Do not appreciate what is not desired. Do not promote back-stabbing and office-politics.
  6. Keep promises to team members.
  7. Do not micro-manage. Trust your team.
  8. Respect everyone. It does not matter whether a team member is a manager or a fresher. Everyone deserves respect.
Motivation Factors
  1. Give them what they want. Everyone has different goals. Some wants to become CXO, some wants to excel in technology and some wants work-life balance.

    Medal - An inspiration

    Talk in terms of a person’s desire and facilitate the person towards realizing his/her goal, provided that facilitation does not interfere with project goals. If a team member’s wants and project goals do not synchronize then replace that team member.

  2. I care. Talk in-person. There is nothing more motivating then giving a personal touch.
  3. Give sincere feedback especially the areas of improvement. Never say lie just because the recipient may feel bad. People like to improve and achieve. Give them the means.
  4. Praise publicly, feedback privately
  5. Behave as Role Model. Keep growing in profession and transfer your legacy to your successor.


I have always been surprised to watch a motivated team perform in even the toughest situations. It gives immense pleasure to watch your team grow and, of course, you grow along. Keeping team energetic always works well for me.

Are you part of a team that needs more motivation? Do you believe some un-hygienic factors (may be office politics or peer competition) should be there? Do you or one of your team members inspire your team? Leave a reply.

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