8 Tips to Motivate Your Construction Team

As a Construction Project Manager, you know that there is more to construction management than coordinating and delivering projects; meeting project timelines is one thing, but finding ways to motivate your construction team is another.

A successful project manager in any field must strongly grasp how to keep their employees motivated.  It is important to make sure your employees do not only simply go through the motions, but ensure that they want to get the job done well.

Here is a list of 8 tips by Project Managers in the Construction Industry, for Project Managers in the Construction Industry, to make sure that your team’s motivation is at its peak at all times.

How To Motivate Your Construction Team

1. Celebrate Big (And Small) Wins

It is critical that you honor your team when they accomplish a job well done, when your team is recognized by the company as standing out, or even when a project is finished ahead of schedule. Rusty Reynolds of Contractors Inc. celebrates his company’s victories by handing out MVP rewards to employees that have had a successful year.

It is also a good idea to add financial incentives that will help each one of your employees put their best foot forward, whether it is a gift card or a yearly bonus. This motivates your employees to want to do well, to get that extra pat on the back along with that company award.

Rusty also tells us that it is important to “[Recognize] when a team member goes above and beyond. We will send out emails nationwide when a team member receives a great review or feedback from a customer.”

2. Reward them after a day of hard work

Stephen Landin of NOW Specialties told us that “in construction, food goes a long way.” After a rough day of working in the bitter cold or the blazing heat, treat your employees to an enjoyable meal or buy them a drink to show them that you recognize their contributions.

You can even be like Javier of AH beck and take your team out periodically to celebrate their hard work and achievements. Javier mentioned, “Monthly dinners are a high moral booster for the labor force.  We typically take everyone out for a steak.”

3. Stay engaged with your team

One of the Construction Project Managers we interviewed told us that in this field, you must be aware of what your team is working on and why they are doing it. It is essential that you know exactly what is going on so that you can offer guidance and answer questions at each step of the process.

Thus, as Michael Williams of T Morales Company puts it, “Evaluating [your team’s] concerns and suggestions when planning work” is highly important.

Even when you cannot keep an eye on your team, you can always stay in contact somehow through a high level collaboration platform like Priority Matrix.

Priority Matrix is a platform that allows your team to track day-to-day tasks that are too granular for software like P6 or Procore. With Priority Matrix, managers can easily stay in the loop on what their team is working on.

4. Don’t take advantage of your team

A Construction Project Manager told us “Don’t take advantage of subordinates. If you can do something simple yourself, just do it, even if it takes a little more time.” With this being said, don’t let the manager title get to your head. Just because one task might be menial, does not mean that you are not capable of doing it.

Motivate your construction team

5. Keep a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere

Nobody will work well in a constantly tense environment. Even in times of stress, or when your project timeline is cutting close, keep your stress away so that it does not impede on your team. A little stress can be a good motivator when you have a deadline to meet, but too much stress will do more harm than good, diminishing your team’s ability to achieve goals.

An article on the Arousal Theory of Motivation from Psychology Today states, “If you’re too sleepy or too nervous, you’ll invariably perform poorly, whether giving a speech or shooting a basketball. Each individual, and each task, has its own peak between arousal that is too low and arousal that is too intense.”

To maintain an optimum level of arousal amongst your team, a Construction Project Manager from South Bay Construction told us, “Try and keep it light and somewhat fun. There is a lot of pressure to make dates, so if you can joke around a little it helps.”

6. Remember, your employees are people, too

Each member of your team has different roles other than your employee; they can be a father, mother, daughter, uncle, son, grandparent, and the list can go on. Thus, while work is an extremely important aspect of their life, you have to acknowledge that they have a personal life as well.

Make sure your employees know that you care about their well-being and demonstrate empathy when they are going through any difficulties, in or out of work.

So, how can you be there for your employees, personally and occupationally?  According to Curtis Stavinoha of Metropolitan Contracting Company, LLC, “Giving people the time of day. Whether it be listening to their problems, offering to help them solve problems, or just showing them they are part of a team and not on their own seems to go a long way.”

Struggling to handle team priorities and centralize information with your team? Try Priority Matrix. Enter your work email below to try it free for 14 days!

7. Lead by Example

Your team should be able to look up to their leader at all times. There is no doubt that your employees are keeping an eye on you, so you want to always be setting an example for your employees to follow.

A Construction Project Manager from Ciarra Construction told us a manager needs, “A smile and good nature about the approach to work.  My enthusiasm and caring attitude about quality and timing will set my example.  I need to not let the demands of the job affect my attitude as those are the things that can stand in the way of effective management.”

YOUR behavior is paramount, so you want to execute admirable behaviors at all times to gain the respect you deserve and keep your team in line and motivated.

8. Allow your team to grow

Take advantage of the skills that your employees are already good at and allow each individual to grow these abilities. Also, give your team more challenging projects out of their comfort zone that will keep their interest up; you never want your employees to get bored at what they are doing.

A great way for your team to expand their current skills and learn even more skills would be through a Construction Conference. There are tons of conferences going on in 2017. Here is a list of ten of them!

Motivate your construction team


As you can see, it is more than necessary to create a motivating environment for your team to thrive in. Hopefully these highly successful Construction Project Managers were able to provide some insight into how to motivate your construction team and run it more effectively, increasing the ambition of your employees and yourself alike.

Here is a Slideshare of our favorite quotes from the Project Managers in the Construction Industry that we interviewed. Make sure you bookmark it for ways to keep your team motivated and on track.

More About Priority Matrix

Priority Matrix is a platform that helps construction teams manage day-to-day priorities. We’re talking about those “one-off issues” that need to be resolved with your team. In the process, Priority Matrix helps you centralize information and gain a better understanding of what your team is working on. 

“In the construction industry, we have too many things that come in from the left field. I think construction managers could use Priority Matrix to better manage daily priorities to work on relevant things.” — Tanmaya Kala, Construction Project Manager, DPR

Enter your work email below to try it free for 14 days!

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Danielle Levine

Danielle works in Marketing Department of Appfluence. She enjoys learning about the best business productivity, team management, and prioritization strategies to help individuals and teams reach their full potential.

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