As a project manager, your primary goal is to achieve project success as defined by your project plan and set objectives. How you do this is up to you, but it should be reasonably obvious that the team you have around you and how they perform will be the conduit for that success. There are many variables involved in team performance, such as internal relationships, the resources available and the skills team members hold. Once a project launches however, it’s generally down to you to do the best with the crew you have available.
Therefore, one of the best ways to get everyone pulling in the same direction and committed to the successful realization of the project’s goals, is to have strong loyalty among team members. Team loyalty has many benefits, including enhanced relationships and issue-solving as members are willing to put aside differences for the betterment of the project and greater dedication to do what’s necessary to get the project over the line.
So, with this in mind, here are some ways you can look to improve your team’s loyalty.
- Stay fair and objective at all times
Fairness and equality are key to keeping team members believing in the project you are managing. Workplace disputes or feelings of injustice can easily spiral out of control and derail tasks completely if they are not dealt with evenly. To do this, make sure that each investigatory meeting or task distribution is conducted as objectively as possible.
- Be clear about responsibilities
If all team members know exactly what is expected of them and what they are responsible for, there are likely to be far less disputes over the course of the project. Missed deadlines, non-delivered deliverables and unachieved objectives can often leave people looking to blame others and avoid reprimand. When everyone knows what’s theirs and what’s not and especially when you take responsibility for your own failings, it strengthens trust and team morale.
- Make yourself available to help
There are plenty of managers who believe that their seniority and authority are an idea which must be cultivated constantly. This leads them to maintain distance from their team, keep their office door closed and give the overall impression that their time is extremely valuable. This may be the case, but it doesn’t help to build loyalty among team members.
To achieve greater team loyalty, let your team know that you are willing to assist them and that all they need to do is ask.
- Help them with their professional progression
One of the biggest factors helping to foster team loyalty is commitment to team members’ future. This gives them a security that allows them to relax and also shows that you are personally interested in helping them. To go about this, it is good to sit down with each team member to find out their individual ambitions and then support them in this through continuing professional development or educational opportunities.
- Recognize their efforts
Employee recognition plays a major role in enhancing loyalty among team members as it shows them that their efforts are not being taken for granted. In fact, nearly 60% of employees felt that recognition was the best way to improve engagement. This does not have to be solely through monetary incentives however. Holidays, paid-for educational opportunities or even just simple milestone or end-of-week parties can all be effective ways of telling employees you appreciate the work they’re doing and improving team loyalty.
- Let them know how they are part of the bigger picture
With larger organizations and projects with many contractors or siloed teams, it can be easy for team members to feel outside of the loop which has negative consequences for team loyalty. To improve this situation, it can be helpful to provide information about how the organization as a whole is doing through fortnightly or monthly status updates. This encourages loyalty among team members by letting them know they are an important part of a larger community.