Stop trying to motivate your team

Hello and welcome back to part eight of our ten-week leadership healthy habits mini-series that addresses some of the most significant challenges leaders face in the workplace.

Let's talk about motivation

I'm regularly asked questions about motivation.

Questions like "How do I motivate my team?" or "How do I keep my team motivated?".

This challenge is a widespread dilemma for leaders and managers at all levels. Whether you are a newly promoted team leader, a divisional head in a major PLC, an MD, or CEO of an entire business, we all spend our quiet moments trying to solve the motivational dilemma.

What if we've been asking the wrong question?

I don't believe that it's a leader's job to motivate their team.

So, in this respect, motivation isn't something that we need to do.

Motivation is about actively not doing certain things.

As leaders, we must be intentional about ensuring that we're not doing anything to demotivate those that work with or for us - this could be as an individual, culturally within our organization, or from a policy and procedures perspective.

One of the critical roles of a leader is to recruit the right people and build a brilliant team around them. If we've got this bit right, and if we've recruited people who have the skills and attitude to thrive in our group, then we should never need to motivate them.

But ensuring we're not doing anything to demotivate them is a critical area of focus.

"I don't do that," I hear you say!

But I suspect you probably do. At least on an unconscious level.

Finding our blind spots

We all have our blind spots and leadership traits that are less than productive. I know I certainly do!

It could be that you inadvertently take more than your share of the credit when things go well.

Or perhaps it's the opposite? Maybe you don't shoulder enough responsibility when things go wrong.

Do you speak more than you should and don't truly listen to those around you?

Or do you do more practical things that are demotivating those in your business?

Do you have a draconian policy applied to all that only exists to ensure that the rare rotten apple in your business doesn't get one over on you? I've certainly seen a good number of these in my time.

What are your 'dark-side traits that are having a demotivating effect on those around you?

I'd be surprised if some quiet, personal reflection doesn't yield any insights. Most of us, deep down, know our edges. But if you do draw a blank, you could ask your closest and most trusted colleagues for some feedback.

One minute mastery - take action

Why humanity works better with Kate Roeske-Zummer & Debbie Cohen

Debbie and Kate are on a mission to help leaders chart a new path forward, one that brings humanity to the workplace through awareness, choice, and courage. They suggest that the results of this approach will be a healthier, more productive work environment that draws the best — rather than squeezes the most — out of people.

Recommended Read

The key tenet of THE HOW OF HAPPINESS is that every human being has a happiness 'set point' which, depending on how high or low it is, can determine how positive or negative they feel. This book offers a practical approach to help us increase our set point, and find a level of happiness above that which we would normally feel, and feel more satisfaction in life.

You can also listen to Sonja Lyubomirsky in episode 46 of my podcast.

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