Motivational Traps

In this season of Dads and Grads and Summer Fun, sometimes it’s tough to stay focused and on track at the office. We all experience a “case of the Mondays” now and again.

Brigade Team in a team building event.
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June 19th, 2019
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In this season of Dads and Grads and Summer Fun, sometimes it’s tough to stay focused and on track at the office. We all experience a “case of the Mondays” now and again.

But, what happens when a lack of motivation becomes an ongoing problem? An expensive drain on time and talent is what happens, unfortunately.

Sometimes, things are bad from the get-go: The employee turns out to be a bad match for the required skills. The company culture—or lack of it—hangs like a cloud over the entire team.

Other times, after a run of good mojo, they just don’t seem to be going the extra mile anymore. This is particularly disheartening for a leader because it’s tough for us to see good employees lose their enthusiasm.

I find that the best approach is to look at the issue from both sides. What is going on with the employee, and what is going on at the company, that could be stifling motivation?

Are your employees falling into “motivational traps”?

In an excellent article from the Harvard Business Review, Richard E. Clark and Bror Saxberg identify four motivational traps. Do you have employees who seem to be saying this about their work?:

  1. “I don’t care enough to do this.” A particular task doesn’t connect with them, or provide value.
  2. “I don’t think I’m able to do this.” Workers believe they lack the capacity to carry out a task.
  3. “I’m too upset to do this.” Workers are consumed with negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, or depression.
  4. “I don’t know what went wrong with this.” Employees can’t accurately identify the reason for their struggles or attribute their struggles to a reason beyond their control.

My takeaway on the best fix: As the leader, it’s important for me to listen, be nonjudgmental, and help my team help themselves work out of the traps with the right tools, resources and open lines of communication.

As the leader, I bear a lot of the responsibility for the motivation and well being of my team. I want them to function to the best of their abilities, so I want them to be fully engaged and fully committed.

When you’re the boss, you want your team to feel inspired by their work, believe in the organization, and feel connected to what the company is trying to achieve. Creating an environment where your employees feel engaged and motivated can take time, but definitely an undertaking you should prioritize!

 

Sources:
4 Reasons Good Employees Lose Their Motivation” by Richard E. Clark and Bror Saxberg, Harvard Business Review, 3/13/19
8 Common Causes Of Workplace Demotivation” by Kristi Hedges, Forbes, 1/20/14

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