Could it be a Lack of Motivation?

Motivating AssociatesEveryone or every team has probably experienced a period of lower than average or expected performance.

In sports, a slump is a period where a player or team is not performing well or up to expectations. Even our car may, at times, seem to have sluggish performance. It could be as simple as a clogged fuel filter or some contaminates in the fuel or the line.  However, in this article, we will keep it in the human domain. So, let’s say that from time to time a team leader or member may need performance “Wheaties.”

However, if we personally or as a part of a team need a “jolt,” we should attempt to determine the root causes. I am sure that each of us have worked through periods when there was project after project and new initiatives that seemed to be coming from a two foot diameter fire hose at fifty miler per hour. Well, heck! It is nearly impossible to always react with enormous enthusiasm, although we may attempt to do so. We may even find ourselves unable to focus during meetings and feel reluctant to volunteer for new projects or assignments.

The Decline in Motivation

At times, it will be difficult to maintain maximum motivation. The tasks, projects or assignments, when new to us may seem and feel exciting. So we get “up” for them. But, after a number of experience with these tasks or projects, we may begin to feel a sense of futility.  We may even suspect that we are approaching “burnout.” But the reality is that, our industry and organization is, like everyone else, is facing fierce competition from numerous competitors and from all directions. Survival and prosperity requires fast and effective action.

Some Considerations

There are a number of considerations that may need to be addressed from the team leader perspective or the team member. Here are a few of them:

  • In a counseling, coaching or mentor-ship role, show empathy and use active listening techniques to build understanding and trust. Your team member will more likely be open and honest with you, and it will be easier to collaborate as you move forward.
  • The prominence of you role may have declined along with the associated appreciation, recognition and compensation.
  • Don’t kid yourself. You may need to ask for mentoring, coaching, additional training or just a discussion with the right person to offer some feedback regarding your concerns.
  • Write down some of your most pressing concerns and the specific events or situations that caused you to have that experience. This will help to obtain more specific and targeted feedback.
  • You may not have a clear overview of why the various projects and changes are occurring. Seek clarification to determine the importance of the role that you play.
  • Try to determine if the decreased motivational level is due to some sources outside of work or by others who are not directly involved?

In situations like this, it is best not to try and “go it alone.” Seek out a mentor whom you believe to be encouraging, empathetic and understanding. It may even be appropriate to seek a change in roles, departments, responsibilities or organizations. The hope is that a caring organization would seek to retain talented human resources rather than lose them to a competitor.

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Related: Motivation… and Managing Your Team

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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