A PMO is a coach and mentor, not just a manager. A lot of what a PMO does is work with people. There are always things the PMO wants from others and there has to be a way to influence others to do what the PMO wants. This is where motivation comes in.
There are prerequisites to be a person who can help others find their motivation, and theories have talked about that for decades. But I want to talk about prerequisites to motivation from my personal experience. So, please remember as you read, I am not stating scientific facts, I am just spilling my thoughts and I might state them as facts, just so not to bore you with repeating the words”in my opinion” before every statement I make below.
Let us start with things that are weak motivators others: intimidation, monetary rewards, negativity and criticism. Anything that feeds on fear or greed does not work. If it does work, it will have negative effects long-term on the relationship and the personality. So, one is better off avoiding them as much as possible. Some think money motivates. Money blinds a person and raises his greed. It is a good on the side motivator, but cannot and should not be te main motvator.
Prerequisites for motivation are: Acceptance and Caring. If a manager, or anyone else for that matter, does not accept the person as is, then motivation rarely works. Remember I am not saying accepting the substandard work or behavior. I am saying accepting the person. Accepting means to me acknowledging and respecting the humanity of this person: The feelings, needs, background, challenges, strengths, and everything else that is bundled with a person. Here is an easy test to tell if you are accepting a person as he or she is: If your behavior, words, or thoughts refuse or cannot comprehend, or try to comprehend, why a person is the way he or she is, then you are not accepting. So, a person is what a person is: a person. We need to stop our ego from wondering: “Why can’t he be the way I want him to be”? or “why can’t he see what I see?” As long as you are stuck in these thoughts there can never be acceptance. I am not saying that you should accept everybody. All I am saying is that without acceptance, motivation efforts are futile.
How to build acceptance? Accept a person as is. Respect the fact they are the way they are for a reason. In a way, you are accepting reality instead of rejecting reality. Start with that. Observe people as they are, not as a judge. If one observes without judging, one can see the person.
Next comes caring for the person as a person. Directing managers care about the tasks at hand and getting them done. It is irrelevant to them how the tasks affect others, whether team members grow and learn from the assignment, or whether they enjoy the work. However, this is not a recipe for motivation and building others to be able to carry out the task. Remember, people are not machines. It is impossible to find someone perfect for the job. Every body has strengths and challenges. Managers with the attitude of caring for the task only always struggle and get frustrated from not being able to find team members fit for the job. Learning to care enough , coach, and mentor, will help solve part of the that problem. Caring means wanting to share the rewards of a good job with an employee, not by giving him or her bonuses, but by helping them “grow” personally and professionally from the work at hand. Help them learn something new, help them see the value and mission from their work, and help them see how what they did helped others.
Acceptance and caring are a good starting point to build a motivated team, but it does not stop here. Next comes the task of helping people find their motivation and goals, and work towards achieving these goals.
A couple of disclaimers: I find myself occasionally on the extreme sides of this argument. Sometimes I am very frustrated with performance of someone and I ask the unanswerable question of: “why cant he just do it?” Other times I find myself taking big chances and find myself “shooting from mid court” by being too patent with a resource that needs help and coaching beyond the time my organization can dedicate. I believe that occasionally falling for these traps is only human. Consistently being on the extremes is what can be troubling.
Some managers, when I discuss these ideas, tell me: “I am his boss not his mother. He needs to do the work or leave. I do not need this touchy-feely nonsense,” and they are probably right. They do not need it.