A Shared Mission
Employees who feel connected to their company’s mission and values are highly motivated to work harder and find more creative solutions because they believe that they are doing something worthwhile. Project managers must take responsibility for communicating progress on company goals and how the team is contributing to key performance indicators (KPIs) so that everyone understands the value of their contributions.
Alongside supporting the overall mission, you should lead your creative team in developing its own shared vision for performance and development goals. Entice the team to dream big as they envision exciting possibilities for the future. Focus on identifying the why of the plan so that you can redirect
every decision and action back to what the team ultimately wants to achieve.
Independent Creative Freedom
In order to flourish, your team members need the freedom to explore and fail. Micromanaging every step of the process will stifle everyone’s ingenuity and zap their motivation, so you must be careful about becoming a taskmaster.
Once you identify the scope, assess risks, establish deadlines and assign tasks, then it is time to trust your project specialists to do their jobs. As a project manager, your role now is to guide, offer feedback and make final high-level decisions. When team members are given autonomy in how and when they do their jobs, then they will be more invested in producing their best work.
While efficient processes boost productivity in project management, repetition can be a creativity killer. Project managers can help their teams fight creative stagnation by encouraging employees to physically and mentally step away from their desks.
Creative minds discover new perspectives when visiting an art gallery, learning a new technique or escaping for the weekend. Project managers who support side projects and actively encourage professional development find that employees have a renewed excitement for tackling workplace projects.
Positive and Constructive Feedback
Employees are motivated when they feel valued for their contributions and appreciated for their efforts. This requires making a concentrated effort to have regular conversations with each team member about how they are performing and where they need to improve.
Creative project managers must learn how to deliver feedback in a kind, constructive manner. Great creative work requires its creators to bravely share a piece of who they are; it can be difficult to not take criticism personally. Honesty is crucial, and keeping feedback regular and centered around a conversation will help ensure that taking a candid approach will be received constructively.
Publicly applauding a team member at a meeting raises their credibility with peers and inspires everyone to work harder at producing great results on each project. However, profuse or perfunctory flattery makes your message less meaningful, so keep it simple, specific and directly tied to value added.
A Sense of Community
The most creative ideas flow from interactions with other people. Brainstorming, conferences and happy hours with other creative professionals are often how we refill our creative wells. However, the bulk of creative work is often an isolated process. Without a sense of community, employees quickly begin to feel disconnected. This seclusion is magnified when employees work remotely, especially if they are alone at a home desk.
Whether your team works side by side or scattered across the country, project managers must proactively encourage opportunities for building a sense of community. It will take some trial and error to figure out what works best for your group dynamics, but you can experiment with a variety of tools, such as collaboration software, virtual hangouts and monthly gatherings just to chat. Since building trust takes time, your team may not initially embrace your efforts, so it is important that you keep trying. Your investment will pay off with a more highly motivated workforce.
A Stimulating Work Environment
When you spend 40 hours each week in the same space, it naturally influences how you feel. To motivate positivity and innovation, project managers must be deliberate in cultivating a stimulating, engaging work environment.
Along with satisfying the senses with colorful artwork and ambient background noise, focus on keeping a tidy office! A disordered space breeds a chaotic mind, contributes to lower office morale and hinders productivity. In contrast, decluttering can be energizing. Try setting aside an afternoon to get your team’s workspace reorganized; everyone will show up the next day with a renewed sense of satisfaction and motivation to pursue their purpose.
Deadlines are notorious for striking fear into the hearts of creative professionals, but those nightmare-inducing dates are necessary for keeping us motivated on working toward the end goal. When used correctly, deadlines can help teams plow through large creative projects that typically would be intimidating. Employees regularly report a decrease in procrastination when they utilize a project management system that breaks down large assignments into manageable tasks. Guided by clearly defined timelines, they are able to sit down at their desks each day knowing exactly what needs their immediate attention.