It is unlikely that you will make it through a career in project management without having to deal with a disenchanted team at least once. You might find your team are looking glum because they are tired, upset with office politics, jaded from previous bad management or worried about business changes. There could be a hundred other reasons that they aren’t exactly on form, but as their project manager it’s up to you to boost their morale.
Steering a team in trouble is never going to be fun, nor will it be particularly easy. However, with some clever cultivation and well placed effort, you can turn things around successfully. And that’s just as true if your team are working on a major infrastructure project or a complex business process re-engineering (BPR) project as if they are working on re-designing a website or a search engine optimisation (SEO) project.
Here are 7 tips to boost morale and make every workplace a better place.
1. Find out why
There can be any number of reasons that your team is feeling down, from lack of upward opportunity to disliking the new brand of coffee. Talk to them about the problem, and if this doesn’t work bring in your HR department for support. Don’t let them take over though, the problem is still yours and needs to stay in your ownership.
2. Is it you?
Take a step back from the situation and look at your own behaviour. If you appear in the room once a day shouting about a forthcoming deadline, chances are you aren’t doing anything to benefit the team morale yourself. Take a critical look at yourself and see what you can do to create a better atmosphere within the team.
3. Give them more control
Employees who are empowered to make decisions and to take control of the project and their careers are happier. Giving some power to the team will heighten their engagement and boost their morale phenomenally.
Being able to listen is as much of an important skill as being able to talk, so really listen when they talk to you. What might sound like the ‘same old whining’ from your team members is a valid and important gripe to them. Don’t just tell them to move on either; do whatever you can to smooth the situation over and resolve their perceived problem.
5. Celebrate when things are good
Project managers are all too quick to come down like a tonne of bricks when something isn’t going to plan, but shouldn’t you put the same effort into celebrating when something goes right? Give reward and praise where it is due, and make it public with little incentives or bonuses if you can to make people feel better about their efforts.
6. Have their backs, all the time
When a member of your team is mistreated or upset by another, be it a client or your senior management, be their strongest advocate. They need to feel that you are all part of a team, and that you are all on the same side
7. Let them try new things
If your team think there is a better way of doing something, let them try it out and see. Don’t assume you know best, because they are the foot soldiers on the ground who are doing things from day to day. If their new approach works, then cement it into your process for the future. Your team will feel valued and you will benefit from better methods of getting thi