Risk Management

4 Steps to Maintain Team Morale When Projects Get Tough

If projects never presented difficulties, then managers would always be happy, projects would never be late, and “agile” would be a word used only to describe jaguars and parkour runners. That is not the case though, so Bruce McGraw writes for PM Hut with four steps to keep spirits up when rough times are going down:

  1. Know your team.
  2. Consider prevention before the rough times hit.
  3. Look for opportunities to celebrate project success.
  4. Keep your perspective.

Roll with the Punches

Everyone reacts to frustrating situations differently. Some people can rationalize the difficulty logically, while others may take it personally and let themselves get overwhelmed by negativity. As the project manager, you should know the best ways to relay bad news to individual people such that you lessen the impact.

Regarding the second point, remember that there is nothing stopping you from building strong team morale long before calamity strikes. An ‘atta a boy, a team lunch, or random surprise candy are all effective ways to keep the team happy. Likewise, celebrating team successes as they occur is an even easier way to improve morale. Giving regular, informal feedback to team members over the year can be a good way to keep everyone on course as well, with the added benefit that nobody feels blindsided when annual reviews come up.

Lastly, about keeping perspective, McGraw writes:

The team will take their cues from you. If you are down and dejected by a recent turn of events, they will be, too. This doesn’t mean that you have to fake positivity in the face of a loss—just that you recognize that your response will be watched.

Bring them together and explore lessons learned. Find out what went wrong so that you can avoid it next time. Then stop looking back.

Be mindful of the past, but keep looking forward. You can read the original post here: http://www.pmhut.com/maintaining-team-morale-when-your-projects-get-tough

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