Successful Project Managers learn what it takes to motivate their project team which is critical for the success of their projects. In this episode Susanne Madsen shares key concepts about motivating others as Jared learns to become a Project Manager.

During the Podcast

In episode 30 Susanne discussed building trust with your team and other stakeholders. This episode is the second half of our session and we discuss what it takes to motivate others. Susanne discussed the importance of intrinsic motivation.

Six Elements of Motivation

Often we think that people are best motivated monetarily. Actually, intrinsic motivation is stronger and is influenced by six key motivators.


We are all motivated by certainty. When we have certainty about different things in our life, our motivation can increase. Things like knowing that we are safe, we can earn money, what is expected of us, our role in a project, how long we will be on a project, what will happen to us after the project is over, etc. These are basic things we need to have certainty about in which we can build motivation from. As project manager, we need to help our team members feel certainty about those things which will increase their motivation.


We also want to have variety in the things we do. Without variety we become bored. This could come in the form of variety of tasks within a project or between projects. As project managers we need to help our team members see variety in their work which in turn will help motivate them.


Each of us need to feel significance. We have the need to feel important or special and that our skills are valued. When we feel valued, then we are more likely to perform and provide greater value to the project we are on. As project managers, we need to reinforce the value of each person on our team. Help them know that they have significance and are contributing to the project.


We all have an intrinsic need to be part of a group or tribe. When we feel like we belong to a group, we are motivated to give back to the group to make it better. That connection helps us feel like we owe the team and hold up our part of responsibility to the betterment of the group or team. As project managers, we can do different things to help the team bond. Help facilitate good communication between team members and foster teamwork by helping the team build trust with each other. When a team feels the connection with each other, the team and individuals are motivated to help each other.


Each of us have the desire to stretch and grow to become better and improve ourselves. Stagnation in our career and life, results in lower performance and a decreased motivation. Just the opposite is true when we feel like we are improving and we can see growth in our career and life. When we see ourself becoming better, that helps motivate us to push harder and improve ourselves even more. A good project manager will help their team members improve and continually improve by providing opportunities for them to grow.


We all have a need to contribute to something that is larger than us, or something that is important to others or a larger group. Often people will volunteer to help in a cause that they perceive has intrinsic value to either themselves and/or a larger group just because they want to contribute and help. As project managers, we need to look for opportunities for our team members to feel like they are contributing to a greater cause.

Additional Elements of Motivation

In the book “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us” by Daniel Pink, he discusses additional elements of what motivates us.

PurposeMasteryAutonomyResources Mentioned this Session

Daniel Pink’s Book:

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Susanne Madsen’s Books:

Project Management Coaching Workbook: Six Steps to Unleashing Your PotentialThe Power of Project Leadership: 7 Keys to Help You Transform from Project Manager to Project Leader

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