Motivate – Not Just Your Team, But Yourself Too
As a business leader, you know one of your key tasks is to
keep your team motivated. To do so, you need to constantly remind
your people of the company’s vision, hold them accountable to
targets and goals, mentor them, and support them in their work. But
how does the one who motivates others every day stay motivated as
When it comes to leaders, motivation is really about
engagement. How engaged are you in your work? How committed are you
to the results you’re supposed to be getting? Are you pushing
forward with a sense of purpose and drive, or are you simply going
through motions? To be your best, you need to give serious thought
to what makes you flourish and succeed.
When you are motivated, you are a wholehearted participant in
your own life. You know what’s important to you and you use it as a
guide. You feel confident, energized and engaged. However, when you
are de-motivated, you “lose your edge.” Your energy goes down. Your
stress goes up. You may even feel guilty and resentful. You might be
bored, either in an “I-can’t-take-this-anymore” way or in a dull,
channel-surfing kind of way. Whatever way a lack of motivation hits
you, one thing is for sure – it’s not a fun place to be.
Whether you feel your motivation waning or you want to keep
your current high level of motivation on a roll, the following
suggestions will help you stay at your best.
Stay connected to
what you’re doing:
It’s one thing to
do the work you’re paid to do; it’s another thing to be fulfilled by
the work you do. If you’re strictly doing your job for the money, or
the title, or the company car, you could find that over time it’s
harder and harder to actually do the job. However, if you’re
connected to what you do – if you’re connected to what excites you –
you’ll feel motivated to keep going because you’ll be achieving a
bigger purpose for yourself.
The key is to know your values – the principles, standards,
and qualities that guide you. To uncover your values, recall a time
in your life when everything was “just right.” You could choose
something from your personal life or your work. You might revisit a
moment, a particular event, or a whole phase of your life.
Once you’ve allowed yourself some time to explore the memory, ask
yourself what it was about that memory that made it so memorable, so
significant, so right. What made it a peak experience? Write down
any ideas that come to mind – words, phrases, images, and symbols.
When you’ve finished with your notes, circle the words that meet the
definition of values as principles, standards, and qualities.
There’s no right or wrong during this process. Simply use your own
words and your gut to tell you what your values are.
Know what it takes
to get better:
from constant learning on how to be better. Therefore, you should
always be asking yourself, “What am I trying to achieve?” and “What
do I need to learn to reach my goal?” Realize that this isn’t about
taking a workshop or reading a book. It’s about challenging yourself
to take on something new and to stretch yourself into a new level of
results. The fact is that when you practice learning as an
element of personal leadership, you stay motivated and you get
better results for yourself and for your work. By learning, you
empower yourself to have, do, and be whatever you choose. And with
empowerment comes confidence. You don’t second-guess yourself or
worry you’ll fail, because you know if you get it wrong, you’ll be
able to figure out how to get it right. How motivating is that!
Find the right
When you’re a
leader, all the people below you lean on you. You guide them,
support them, and tell them what to do. However, when you’re on top,
you don’t have anyone above you to lean on. That’s when you need to
look outside of your organization, your role, or even your industry
for the people who can cheer you on, mentor you, and help you be
To do so, look for people whose style you like – people who
inspire you by the way they lead and the results they get. Seek out
people who resonate with you and who seem to mirror parts of
yourself. Connect with them to see what’s possible for you as a
leader. Learn how you can become more with the help of others who
have already done what you want to do.
The more carefully you build your support team, the more
powerful it will be. You don’t just ask people to mentor you because
you like them; you make them a part of your team because they
enhance you. The people on your support team help you stay motivated
because they expand you by giving you access to what you don’t know.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be lonely at the top.
Maintain a sense of
While maintaining a
work/life balance is not a way to stay motivated, it is a way to
keep from becoming de-motivated. When you’re serving everyone else
you have to remember to fill your own tank. Remember that being an
effective and motivated leader should not come at the expense of
quality of life, and quality of life should not come at the expense
of business results. Work and life should be able to co-exist,
happily and successfully. They can and they have. The key is to
define what that balance looks like for you.
If you’re a senior leader, balance may not look very
traditional. It might not be 9-5, Monday through Friday, with
holidays and weekends off. You need to understand what works for you
and what fulfills you in your personal life. What helps you restore
your energy and find that sense of peace, rest, and renewal?
Depending on your lifestyle and personal preferences, that could be
taking a morning job, sleeping in on days off, reading a fiction
book, or spending time with family. Even if you can’t carve out
chunks of time, at least create some mental space where you can
relax, turn off distractions, and let yourself go.
in today’s economy and work reality can be difficult for anyone. But
when you take responsibility for motivating yourself and others, you
become a true inspiration and can better reach your goals. As a
result, your vision, your potential, and your efforts all leave a
mark. Yes, as you progress there will be times you’ll lose heart.
You’ll get busy, you’ll get tired, you’ll forget, you’ll have
setbacks, you’ll drift away. But you won’t get lost. When you follow
these four guidelines, you’ll have a solid foundation for your
continued success, now and in the future.
Read other articles and learn more about
Joelle Jay, Ph.D.
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