Why do people do (or not do) things? It’s all a matter of motivation. If you can provide the right motivation, then people will do as you ask: if not, they won’t… So, here are my top 20 ways to motivate people on your projects.
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There are a lot of things that can motivate us and your job is to figure out which will have the biggest impact and the greatest integrity in the situation you find yourself in.
1. The Carrot – incentives, bonuses, bribes, and rewards are intrinsically motivating. They appeal directly to the biggest motivator of all…
2. Self-interest – do I need to say more?
3. The Stick – threats, penalties, coercion… of course they work; but do you want to be the sort of person to use them?
4. Curiosity – killed the cat, but attracts us all to varying degrees. After all, why are you still reading?
Abraham Maslow, without empirical research, suggested six powerful motivators. Others added insights and tinkered with the language.
5. Existence – survival and meeting all of our basic physical needs. Use this as a motivator explicitly, and it will feel like a stick to most people.
6. Continued Existence – being safe and secure comes next, but its very much more of the same.
7. Relationships – we have a fundamental need to belong because we are social creatures, so the chance to feel part of a group will motivate most of us.
8. Recognition – … and once we are in a group, we will be motivated by the chance to win recognition for what we do and, better still, enhance our…
9. Status – because status gives power and some people crave this heartily.
10. A Sense of Achievement – and for some, what matters more is that they truly feel proud of themselves, regardless of what others think: self-esteem.
Maslow also talked about ‘self-actualization’ – being the best you can possibly be.
11. Mastery – becoming competent and then truly excellent at something is highly motivating – ‘autotelic’ means intrinsically motivating.
12. Growth – …but even as a master, who wants to stand still – the opportunity to continue to grow is a motivator.
13. Purpose – but why do we want to master something and grow – we all need a purpose: to answer the BIG question: why?
14. Contribution – for some people the need to contribute is their purpose and for others it is a motivator that supplements their primary needs.
Some motivations are entirely about what we need, deep inside. These are intrinsic motivators and they are particularly useful at work.
15. Autonomy – Richard Ryan And Edward Deci identified the need for personal autonomy as part of their ‘Self Determination Theory – SDT’ (along with relationships and growth).
16. Control – we work hard to feel in control of our environment and our future to the extent that it is both carrot and stick – without control, we experience stress.
17. Certainty – we look for certainty and, with it, we can cede a measure of control…
18. Variety – but, with too much certainty, we get bored: we need some uncertainty to shake us up and keep us feeling alive and alert.
19. Duty – duty is a big motivator – go ask the Marines!
20. Applause – yes, some people need that limelight adoration, but we all need a little bit of cheering on when we are struggling and applause when we succeed.
Carefully curated video recommendations for you:
I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own.
Note that the links are affiliated.
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Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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