It's been one of those days...

It's been one of "those" days - nothing has gone right, clients are complaining, people you rely on are making errors or forgetting tasks that they were quite capable of yesterday. A big new client may suddenly be going sour or your latest transformation effort causing additional issues rather than solving them.

Regardless of how organised, competent or efficient you are, from time to time you will experience one of "those" days. Before running home to pour yourself the biggest glass of wine you have, let's consider for a moment how to stay motivated in an environment where nothing seems to be going right.

Motivation is simply the internal process that drives someone to achieve or work toward achieving a goal. Motivation can be intrinsic - the desire to achieve the goal comes from within e.g. wanting to provide that extra service to the client because they enjoy the accolades. Motivation can also be extrinsic where the desire is driven by external rewards e.g. wanting to provide extra service to the client because it may result in a Star Award.

However, offering an incentive or relying on individuals' internal drive to snap them out of a demotivating situation will fail. Incentives will lose their value and appeal while the internal process may take a long time. There is a way of combining both in order to keep yourself and your team motivated in trying circumstances.

As you would expect, it falls to the leader/manager to provide guidance, direction and the model for the rest of the team to follow. In other words, unless you have firstly addressed your motivation issues, it is unlikely that you will be able to assist your team in working on their own.

The opposite is also true: if you are one of those fortunate people who is always motivated and upbeat, regardless of the situation, your challenge will be to understand that others are not like you when it comes to displays of motivation. Your second challenge will be to utilise your enthusiasm - not to jolly staff along - but rather to help them see the positive aspects of the current situation.

As a leader/manager, you are not responsible for each staff members' level of motivation. What you are responsible for is ensuring you create an environment that promotes high levels of motivation. That means communication, participation, mentoring and leadership.

During assisting businesses transformation, we found that just the process of change in the business is one situation that has the potential to lower motivation. Changes, shifting staff out of their comfort zones and introducing new policies and procedures can leave staff feeling powerless to control their own environment. Some businesses did have a few staff members leave but those who remained provided the backbone of the businesses efforts.

By freeing up the leader/managers time to provide mentoring and encouraging staff to actively take part in transformation, motivation in the business was high. Communication played a critical part because the leader/manager created a picture of the future for the team that tapped into their intrinsic need to provide the best and most efficient service possible. As improvements were made, staff began to see the progress which in turn, kept staff motivated and motivating others!

The lesson for the business owner was clear: staying motivated starts with strong, constant and consistent leadership. That means tapping into your own motivation and then communicating your excitement, drive and sense of purpose to your team.

Let's face it, how can you expect to keep your team motivated if you are not? Motivated teams have been proven time and time again to be more productive, more efficient and more involved in the business, especially where a motivated leader/manager is providing clear direction and an environment that fosters the achievement of goals.

About Tony Gattari, Achievers Group

The author is founder and Chief Energy Officer of Achievers group. He is a much in demand passionate professional speaker, business educator, author and corporate, business advisor. He has worked with over 140 businesses around the world.

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