Motivation is a recurring theme for team leaders and project managers. It highly impacts businesses’ profitability. Results depend on how well and fast people execute tasks.
Human beings are complex and diverse, though. And motivation does not always work quite the same way for all teams and individuals. As a result, some managers do their best, but notice many team members are still harder to lead. Many professionals can self-motivate, but here we will analyze resources that can help leaders to improve it.
Dr. Gary Chapman (best seller author, Ph.D. and speaker), gave us some hints in his book “The 5 Love Languages”. Initially, the book is about personal relationships. However, HR counselors also use it to advise leaders on how different people need kinds of encouragement. Guess what? Its lessons can also apply to remote team engagement with project management, using GitScrum.
Lessons from the “The 5 Love Languages” book for Remote Team Management
- Take a little time to know each team member(s) better, discover what works for them;
- Each person is more sensitive to a different kind of encouragement;
- What can feel incredible for someone, might be insignificant for others;
- There are about 5 different basic types of stimuli or rewards in life (which companies can adapt to their reality, mainly remotely):
Acts of Service (1), Receiving Gifts (2), Quality Time (3), Words of Affirmation (4), Fellowship & Care (5)
- Knowing the communication mechanisms is essential for successful relations;
- Most people are not conscious about how they are motivated, or lacking motivation;
- By testing what kind of encouragement works best with your team members, you save a lot of effort and costs on trying to please them in ways they could not care;
- Companies and team members should try to invest in motivation since their relation starts;
- The same principles apply to superiors and clients.
Are you curious about how GitScrum project management will help you to do so?
1. Be supportive during Team Members’ Tasks – “Acts of Service”
For some people, volunteer collaboration is the highest demonstration of recognition they can obtain. Obviously, leaders and managers must delegate tasks, so they can’t “help assistants on execution”. The idea is to show concern, check if they understood and if task instructions were clear enough. When possible, indicate another team member with who the assignee can exchange ideas with. Use the GitScrum Board to collaborate with team members and be supportive during your work routine.
“Acts of service” can have a wide meaning, it could be anything you do for someone. If you read an article and download an eBook especially for that person, or send a movie indication just because you remembered them, that will be valuable. Many times, it can cost zero and become a natural process, if you already know your team members.
In a more practical work approach, it could be creating a task challenge you know the team member will appreciate, and will benefit the company.
2. Create Rewards for Your Team with Gamification – “Receiving Gifts”
There are also no limits for your imagination for what you can determine as “gifts” in your work environment. Companies that work in offices have many traditional possibilities (medals, sweets, flowers, corporate gifts), but remote work also opens a world of limitless types of rewards. There can actually be true gifts for team members to win (virtual certificates, your company’s stocks, e-commerce cupons, or a day off), but more important than the final prize is the process you will create.
Use the GitScrum Rock Star Team feature to create your own gamification project and turn your work projects into games. Some team members will feel more encouraged about the points and rewards, others will enjoy playing and being encouraged by you during the process. Even though it seems more related to rewards, you can use all kinds of motivational stimuli during your project duration – virtual “claps”, individual attention, praises and challenges.
3. Dedicate Time for Close Communication with the Team, and Offer Self-management Opportunities – “Quality Time”
If you work in an office, know that for some team members, your presence with the team matters. Not exactly how long you spend with them, but the genuine attention you dedicate to them, as a team and as individual collaborators. The same principle applies to remote squads. These team members who highly value contact with their leaders feel especially safe and valued when they feel they share common goals and move towards the same direction, solve doubts and make sure they are making things right. For them, your time is your treasure and if you are sharing it, they feel special.
At the same time, they enjoy the opportunity to manage and organize their own work to ensure they can have quality time to work for the company, are highly focused, and get free quality time off for their personal lives. That is possible when you offer the GitScrum project management tool with Kanban Boards for remote work and build an autonomous, yet responsive team.
4. Cultivate the Habit of Sincere Praise – “Words of Affirmation”
We know it’s a pretty common habit of many team leaders to use verbal encouragement, even remotely. For determined people, it ends up being the most impacting incentive. If they don’t hear that a project was excellent, they don’t feel valued, even if they win another kind of reward. That’s the easiest part. These team members are also the most sensitive for verbal feedback, so they might sometimes misunderstand adjustments with criticism. That is something team managers need a little more patience to deal with – try to be as polite as possible when providing tasks feedback and requesting changes. It’s no problem to request limitless task reviews. Just try to eliminate or avoid words that are excessively negative. For example, it’s better to say that something is “not satisfactory yet”, or “still far from what we need”, than say a job sample is “awful” or “horrible”, unless you are sure your team is used to accepting this language, even jokingly.
Build efficient team communication using GitScrum interactive features – task comments, @mentions, discussions, and assignments.
5. Keep Human Relations and Communication – “Fellowship & Care”
As remote work keeps teams from being close, physical proximity was substituted by eye contact on eventual video calls. Informal hugs and “pats on the back” now need to be replaced by words, images and other kindness demonstrations. The fact is that some people need more kinesthetics and emotional experiences/approaches than others. For a couple of workers, if you asked how their family is doing, or if their health is ok, that is the most important demonstration of care they can receive. These people usually appreciate emotional languages and images.
By communicating and writing tasks and encouragement to this kind of people, you can use the GitScrum Board’s task cards’ boxes to include motivational quotes, images, rich formatted text, inspiring videos and emojified text, to add an emotional feeling to the platform. Use symbols that reinforce fellowship, energy and recognition.
Of course, people are not robots we could prescribe a formula for all leaders to apply. What is interesting about these principles is that they are quite simple to apply and test, cost you exclusively a little time, and have the potential to transform the way people feel about your company, you as an employer and about themselves. Encouragement is not only about making people consciously satisfied with their jobs, but balancing their self-confidence can make them work happier. As a consequence, they tend to dedicate more, be productive and deliver more results, even if they don’t even know how to explain why they feel like doing so.
Motivation is also an aspect that can contribute to your team members’ mental health, and your corporate climate as a whole. For all those reasons, investigating its mechanisms is worth and essential for all businesses to succeed in the long term.