5 Ways to Boost Your Project Team’s Morale When Things Get Tough [Guest Post]
Project management is often one of the hardest parts of any leadership position. With so many moving elements and so many different personalities, sometimes it can feel like you’re climbing an uphill battle.
But even when things get difficult, success is possible. However, for it to happen, you’re going to need to stretch yourself and figure out ways to manage your team so that they are successful. And one of the most important ways to do this is to keep team morale high.
When morale is high, people are more productive. They attack tasks with more tenacity and vigor, and they respond better when things don’t go exactly as planned.
Keeping morale high isn’t always easy, especially when things aren’t going great with the project. So to help you keep your team focused and ready to succeed, consider the following ways to boost your team’s morale when the going gets tough.
5 Ways to Boost Your Project Team’s Morale When Things Get Tough
1. Focus on Little Things
One of the things that can really hurt team morale is when they feel like they’re at the bottom of a really tall mountain. Projects can go on for months or even more than a year.
When this happens, it can be really hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. If people lose sight of the end goal, they tend to get overwhelmed and disengaged.
To prevent this from happening, it’s important to break the project up into chunks and focus on the individual contributions of each team member.
If you plan things right, then everyone dedicating their energy to their corner of the project will help bring things together in the end, and it will prevent people from being burdened by the totality of the project.
Don’t give too much credence to the final deadline or the end of the project, at least not until it’s right around the corner. Instead, treat each milestone within the project as a separate entity. This will help give a better perspective and keep people from becoming stressed out, overwhelmed and disconnected.
Along these same lines, it’s important to celebrate along the way. If you reach an important milestone, then consider taking the team out for lunch. They are professionals, so they know this doesn’t mean you’re all done, but it will provide something for people to look forward to as you move through the project.
Don’t focus solely on celebrating project work. Make sure to stop and celebrate birthdays and other life events, such as weddings, babies, new apartments, etc. You don’t need to throw a party every time, or even go out for lunch but bagels, doughnuts, or a cake are always good. This helps make the project seem a little more fun and manageable, even when things are getting tough.
3. Step Back
While it’s important to focus on the little stuff, you don’t want to lose sight of the big picture.
The team should know how this project, and the work they’re doing for it, are going to impact on the company as a whole. If it’s going to allow you to reach new markets, then make this known. Or if it’s going to make everyone’s life a little easier, then make sure everyone knows exactly how.
A good way to do this is to set up some sort of physical reminder. For example, if the project you’re working on is to help set up a new location in another country, then put images associated with this new country all around the space where the team is working. This will help remind people what it is they’re working towards, which will encourage them to put their heads down and keep working, even when things get difficult.
4. Stay Strong
As a project manager, you should lead by example, especially when things start to get tough.
If people see you getting stressed out or overwhelmed, then they are going to feel that things truly are starting to get out of control, and this is no good for anyone.
Make sure you’re taking care of yourself as you’re going through the project. Make getting a good night’s sleep a priority, and don’t forget about your own self-care routines. If you need to, then consider stepping away for a short period to recharge. This will help keep you calm and focused, which you can pass onto your team as a way to motivate them during difficult times.
5. Get Feedback
Lastly, make sure you’re spending time talking with and listening to your team. If they are struggling with things, but feel powerless to change them, then this is going to erode morale rather quickly. And it will also prevent you from installing solutions that could make everyone’s life a little easier.
Look for feedback in groups and individually. Ask the team how they are doing and what’s getting in their way, and also schedule regular meetings with each member of your team so that you can hear more specific feedback.
Then, make sure you do all you can to address their concerns. Knowing that you’re there to help them do their jobs will make the tough times more bearable because they know that you’re doing everything possible to help make sure they don’t last.
The Tough Times Don’t Last
Even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, rough patches will pass. And if you employ the tactics mentioned here, then not only will they pass more quickly, but your team will get more motivated and more moving forward.
About the Author
Kevin Conner is a busy digital entrepreneur. His most recent venture is Broadband Search, a consumer comparison and search site. Kevin has been involved with building businesses and leading projects for more than 10 years, and he enjoys sharing his expertise on the topic whenever he can.