Motivation in the Workplace- Are Your Project Managers the Problem?

Motivation in the workplace is a big deal. If your team isn't motivated, projects get hacked together, customers get disappointed, and more things just seem to go wrong.

A motivated team that feels appreciated also performs better. They're more likely to speak up at meetings when they feel heard, and they're more likely to work longer and harder to make you happy.

If hiring project managers that are super-organized is the number one thing you hire them for, being able to motivate people should be second. Motivated workers work harder and will make you more money.

Unfortunately, some people are born motivators and some folks aren't. You can't fault one of your project managers if the ability doesn't come to them naturally. You can however, help them develop motivating habits by asking them to be mindful of the five things below:

A Positive Frame of Mind

Having a positive outlook for a project is key trait to instill in your project managers. When a PM trash-talks a client to his employees or contractors, he's basically saying, "don't take what the client wants seriously." At this point, you've put out the fire in their motivation and have subconsciously told them that the client is a joke and that they don't need to work as hard to please them. If you want the people who work for you to be happy, motivated and driven, your PM should display the same confidence and integrity. Keep frustration out of the communication loop.

Clear Communication

Clearly communicating tasks and directives can really help motivate your PM's team. You do not want a PM that is flippant with directions. Project Managers should also never assign tasks and then chastise their team for performing them. The importance of clarity in communication with contractors cannot be said enough. Project Managers should be the most accountable people on your team in terms of deadlines and milestones, but if contractors aren't keeping up to speed, there may be a communication breakdown.

The Right Environment

The environment your project managers establish for their teams directly correlates to how successful they are. Demand that your managers foster an open environment so that team members are given the freedom to question anything about a project without persecution. This can lead to new discoveries in efficiency and project heuristics. The goal of an open team environment is that everyone is working towards and thinking about the best way to finish the project. If your PM needs "sensitivity training" in terms of giving constructive criticism, work with them on it. No idea is a stupid idea, and nobody should be allowed to tell anyone they "don't think that's a good idea" without coming up with an alternative solution.

Daily Words of Encouragement

A quick daily word of encouragement can really boost motivation in the work place. Have your project managers shout people out for the good work, especially when they meet or come in ahead of deadlines. A group email is always nice, but it can be sent directly to the team member too. Make a point of thanking someone on your team for his or her hard work at least once a week.


All of these things start with you. Set the example for your managers by creating open environments where you communicate clearly, acknowledge hard work, and move forward in a positive manner. Teach by example and your project managers will follow suit.

As a bonus, give your managers the power to give their teams perks. Give them the ability to treat their team to gifts or a catered meal. Wantful is a neat gifting site that allows you to pick gifts your team might like and they get to choose what they want.

It's the little things that show your team that you care and that you're excited about working together in the future. Do you have an effective way of boosting motivation in the workplace? Let us know in the comments.