Development and Motivation of the Project Team (Lessons Learned from the Construction Industry)


by Alex Timoc 

What guarantees the success of a civil construction project? There is an entire checklist to tick off to be able to answer this question. Although the list is extremely long and comprehensive, in project management courses, the trainer will mention that there are always chances for the project process to encounter issues, despite adhering to management procedures and methods. Thus, the following question arises: how can a project manager motivate the team in crucial moments when problems arise?  In this short article, I will talk about my experience on construction sites and the difficulties encountered as a project manager. I have been working in project management for almost ten years, and I can say with a hand on my heart that no management team in construction I have been a part of has resembled another. Moreover, I have not been the same each time, primarily because my experience has always been exponentially broader, and secondly because I participated in projects at different stages of work. However, over the years, I have noticed a few things that successful management teams had in common. Besides having a collaborative leader who promotes innovation and initiative, team members often use their experience to find solutions to problems encountered during the construction process. An empathetic leader is essential, capable of understanding and responding to the needs and concerns of team members, thus creating a positive and productive working environment.  One of the projects where I was a manager and collaborated with a project management team was the construction of a multifunctional building for an educational institution in Timiș County. The team consisted of members of different ages, spanning different professional generations, from 22 to 55 years old. Therefore, I brought together people responsible for commercial aspects, acquisitions, quality, civil site, installations, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing (MEP), and safety and health. I start by mentioning that I did not know anyone beforehand. All came from various work backgrounds, had worked in different project stages, and most importantly, were from different generations, each with a different perception of how project management is done. There is no room for ego in construction. I gave myself time to understand the trajectory of our management style. It took us more than seven months to get to know each other, and together we managed to balance and adjust our working method so that we could work efficiently as a team.  Undoubtedly, the common denominator became the positive result or success of each project stage. Recognizing merits and rewarding them was a significant plus that made a difference. Whether it was money, bonuses, praise, appreciation, or any other form of reward to boost self-esteem, all worked excellently to motivate all team members, regardless of age. Before concluding, I would like to mention an example where my management style did not work, and I failed to motivate team members to collaborate harmoniously for the project’s benefit. During the time I worked on a residential complex, I had the opportunity to be the manager of a team almost as complex as the one mentioned earlier – people were of different ages and had different ideas about their responsibilities. When I noticed that many of them were skeptical about the management process I proposed, I concluded that I would not be able to motivate them to collaborate.  In conclusion, I learned that motivating a team in construction is an essential aspect of project management, and an effective leader must be able to use a variety of strategies and techniques to maintain and stimulate team members’ motivation. By recognizing contributions, providing professional development opportunities, defining clear and achievable goals, creating a positive and stimulating working environment, involving team members in the decision-making process, ensuring a balance between professional and personal life, providing feedback, guidance, and encouraging teamwork and collaboration, the project manager can contribute to increasing team engagement, productivity, satisfaction, and the success and quality of the construction project.