Motivation may not be the only challenge
When some project team members have met their task deliverables and the project becomes bogged down, those members may have a negative outlook and affect other team members. Once a project manager sees that, it is the PM’s duty to nip this in the bud quickly and professionally. I am not suggesting that the PM use an iron fist on team members. As a matter of fact, I believe the PM must be transparent and make this the first discussion point in the next project meeting, even calling a special meeting if necessary. In the next project meeting or the special meeting, the PM should let the team members’ voice their concern AFTER the PM discusses the reality of the project and how important it is that the team members work through any discouragement they may be feeling.
If this project stays in the “red” for a protracted amount of time, it is easy to see how the team members will lose motivation and become negative. The PM must take positive steps. First and foremost, the PM must inform the PMO Lead and the project sponsor, first about the delay and then the issue of project members becoming dismayed and losing motivation. The PM must ask for support from both by having them use their influence in getting the late piece of work that is holding up the project completed as quickly as possible. Then the PM should ask that both attend the next project meeting to provide support to the PM and the team.
What if a member remains negative?
If a project team member remains negative, that specific person must be spoken to and dealt with as quickly as possible. What the PM does not want to happen is having the negativity of this specific person spreading to other members. The negative person must be allowed to express his or her views and issues to the PM. The PM must then assess them and have a plan for this person. If the person has legitimate issues, the PM must address them. If the person only has issues because the person is unhappy, it may be time to request that this person be removed from the project team.
This is not the most pleasant action a PM can take, but it is necessary at times to ensure that the project moves forward and is completed successfully.
How to deal with the fallout if a member must be removed
The removal of a project member may have a negative impact at first. The PM must be transparent and communicate with the other project members and assure them that this move was in the best interest of the project and the other team members. Once that is done, the PM must ensure that the project gets back on track.
Some of the work a PM must do is not as pleasant as one would think. The PM has a duty to the other project team members, the project sponsor, the PMO Lead, and to himself or herself to ensure that this project is completed successfully.