There are times when there is a significant increase in the level of work and you need all team members ready for action. Ideally, you want people to jump into the work eager and with a keen desire, rather than fear what’s coming.
So, how do you motivate your team to meet deadlines? What can you do to urge everyone to work harder when the team’s workload is particularly heavy? How do you keep managing through crunch time and talk about the project deadline, so that people don’t feel overwhelmed?
How do you handle crunch time and keep your eyes on stress levels while still motivating people to get through the critical situation?
Understanding Views from Experts
Whether it’s a tough crunch time or a difficult project with a stretched deadline, it can be hard to keep people focused and motivated when they’re overloaded. The fact is, “The time will never be just right,” says Napoleon Hill, the famous author, and success guru.
When you request your team for more, “it can leave people feeling beleaguered and vulnerable.” Additionally, as the speed of work rises and our always-on mode, serves as a tether to the workplace, intense periods are becoming more common, says Ethan Bernstein, of Harvard Business School.
There is a greater amount of crunch times and more of our efforts are expended during such times. This poses certain challenges for you, the manager. By projecting a calm, positive presence, you can make managing through crunch times easier for the people on your team.
The ultimate question that arises is, how do you motivate your team to meet deadlines?
1. Create Milestones to monitor progress
Break up the larger project into several smaller parts, and set a time limit, for each milestone. Sometimes, a team can get tied down because a project seems overbearing. Setting timelines for smaller milestones help assuage this problem.
2. Offer instant recognition
Every time a team member completes a milestone ahead of a deadline, put into action a reward & recognition program. Acknowledging employees for their hard work through monetary or non-monetary rewards – even just an encouraging “thank you” – will prompt them to continue meeting milestone timelines.
3. Give early achievement inducements
Early completion inducements act as a driver for employees to meet deadlines or finish work early. If every member on the team is integral to a project, you can scale this for the entire team. For example, if the project is delivered early, everyone gets a bonus. If not, no one gets it. This can help drive individual team members and give them a purpose to motivate one another.
4. Decentralise ownership
Most team members are motivated, on some level, by getting ownership of a project. For this to happen, you need to share with your team members all the information you have on a project. Give them the capability to decide who will handle what role, and, if they can be trusted, leave your team to complete its tasks without being domineering.
Allow your team members the leeway to make key decisions concerning the project. For instance, you could consider delegating procurement decisions to certain team members, by trusting them with a business credit card rather than asking them to pay out of their own pocket and wait for reimbursement.
While no project team is fail-safe, administering best practices to get team members to meet milestones and goals helps to make quick progress. Assign definite roles, set clear expectations, offer incentives, and make use of software or tool that provides versatility and accuracy in project management.
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