Working on a long-term project comes with its own set of challenges and tasks. And anyone who has worked on a long-term project knows that one of these unique challenges is staying motivated throughout the entire project.
If you are leading the team, the responsibility to keep your team motivated falls on you. It’s important that, as a leader, you are inspiring a shared vision and keeping the team morale up. But during long-term projects, it can be more difficult to keep your teammates motivated, especially during the second half of the project.
But when the team moral decreases, how do you get it back up, and how do you prevent the moral from dropping in the first place? Here are four tips to keep your team motivated during a long-term project.
During a long project, chances are that you will run into a few bumps in the road that can derail motivation. But when you experience setbacks and things don’t quite go as planned, it’s important that you stay positive, especially regarding the outcome of the project.
If your team experiences a setback, let them know that it’s just that– a setback. Remind them that the experience is something they can learn from, recover from, and move on from. It doesn’t have to define the project if you stay positive and keep looking forward.
Throughout long projects, goals and success criteria often change. As your team works on the project, you may discover a new goal that you want to reach for, or you may realize that you need more ambitious goals. Because of this, it is important that you occasionally and formally check in with your team to redefine and clarify goals throughout the project.
When you update the goals with your team, you remind the team of what exactly you are trying to accomplish. The clearer the goals, the more motivated the team. If members can clearly see the end objective, they will be more motivated to reach the end in sight.
Remind your colleagues periodically why the team is trying to accomplish its goals. The “why” behind the final objectives is one of the most important motivating factors, but it can be one of the easiest things to lose sight of.
You can discuss the why factor at your team meetings or while you are updating your goals. But if you notice certain members are becoming less motivated, don’t hesitate reaching out to them. Remind them of why they are invested in the team and encourage them to stay positive and motivated.
Let Know of Their Importance
Throughout the project, remind each member that they are needed for the success of the team and the project. Some members may start to lose motivation if they feel that they are not necessary on the team or if their work isn’t appreciated. As the leader, it is up to you to ensure that the members know that they are helping the team.
During team meetings, appreciate the accomplishments of individual members. If someone worked extra hours this week to get something done for the project, acknowledge that in front of the rest of the team. It’s a great way to remind that individual that their hard-work is necessary and extremely helpful for the project. And even more, it’s a great way to motivate the other members to work harder if they know that their efforts will be publicly appreciated and acknowledged.
Undoubtedly, there are times when you lose sight of your goals or the “why” behind them, but when you stay motivated, you will find that accomplishing a long-term project pays off. Next time that you are working on a long-term project, use these tips to keep yourself and your team looking forward towards the final goal.