Developing a positive team culture can be the difference between project failure and success so we’ve pulled together our top 5 team building tips to build your team and deliver project success.
Being a Project Manager is not all about managing deliverables, scope and deadlines and towards successful project completion – it is also about leadership and maintaining a positive team culture and relationships to deliver results.
What does this mean for us as project managers?
We need to let our team members know they are appreciated, which increases their level of engagement. “The number-one reason that most Americans leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated.” (Gallup, Tom Rath and Donald Clifton, How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life, 2001). The same could be said for projects. If team members don’t feel appreciated or valued, they may volunteer themselves for a different project, or worse still, leave the agency.
5 Ideas for Team Building and Appreciation
1 . Ask how they prefer to be recognized for good work
Not every team member may want to be recognized for producing great results in the same way. Some people prefer not to be the center of attention and would like a more “low-key” celebration while others would rather be thanked publicly. During the beginning of a project or formation of a group, send out a survey with some basic questions such as “How do you prefer to be recognized?” and “What is your favorite candy or place to eat?”.
This kind of information is useful if you wanted to provide a gift card or simply leave a small token of appreciation on their desk. Sometimes a simple “Thank You” is all that is required. If you would like to thank colleagues for a job well done, personalize it to them. They will recognize the effort.
2. Send a note to their manager
Many times during the hectic pace of the work week, it is easy for managers outside of the project to not have a chance to see how their direct reports are doing. A simple way to show appreciation is to send a short note to their manager to indicate that the team member is positively contributing to the success of the project. Include specific examples of their contribution and how you appreciate their efforts. This type of recognition may be stored in their employment file as a positive contribution which could affect future promotions or opportunities for growth.
3. Send a thank you package
A fun way to say “thank you” to a team is to send a fun care package. This works well when you work with distributed or remote teams. Companies such as Amazon offer prepacked snack bundles that can be easily shipped. Be sure to include a personalized thank you message along with the package. Teams will appreciate the gesture.
4. Create team awards
One way to create camaraderie among team members is to create awards that can be distributed at key deliverable times or during an end of project ceremony. Awards could be a mix of work-based celebrations such as “Team Player”, “Step Up Awards” or more playful ones such as “Most Likely to Eat the Most Pizza During a Team Lunch”. Team members could vote on awards that they feel best fit their colleagues, which makes the celebration more meaningful.
5. Provide new challenges and opportunities
As team members want to grow in their careers, they may be looking for additional challenges and opportunities to build on existing skills or want to learn a new skill. Partner with their manager to look for times when you can offer members of the team with additional responsibilities within a project. Engaging and motivating employees by providing new opportunities increases morale and promotes a positive work environment. This also shows others within the company that producing positive team and project results can result in future opportunities.
As Project Manager, you are the leader of a team. You set the stage on the type of culture that you want to infuse into the entire project. Promoting a positive team culture will enable a closer team bond, that encourages teamwork. Collaborative teamwork can ultimately lead to a success project. Start small. Begin by writing a quick note to a manager this week and schedule that each week you recognize the work of a worthy team member. Add budget in your project for team recognition and enlist the help of others to carry out award recognition. Your team will thank you!