Ask the Expert : How can I keep myself and my team motivated?
This article’s expert was Training and Development specialist, Sue Butterfield
“The organisation I work for has recently had to lay off some staff and this, coupled with a re-organisation within my department, mean that my chances of promotion are currently at a standstill. I have been carrying out my current role for a couple of years and, although my manager tells me that the work my team do is effective, it rarely results in direct feedback from the customer to us. Obviously, the atmosphere in the department as a whole isn’t great because of the current uncertainty and I find that, although I know I need to be invigorated and continually coming up with new ideas, I am struggling to keep myself and my small team motivated. Can you offer any tips which would help?”
The feelings of yourself and your team are quite understandable, given the situation you describe. The good news is, you are not alone! The majority of teams and organisations I have worked with are in a very similar situation. The second thing to bear in mind is that, during times of uncertainty and change, we all feel similar emotions and this is the natural journey we travel through in order to make sense of the changing situation. The key to managing this is to accept these feelings as part of the process we need to go to go through – sometimes we can make things worse by feeling bad about ourselves for reacting in this way. You might want to think about asking your team how they are feeling so that this is out in the open. Then you can constructively work together to agree what can be done, what you need to move forward.
It is great that your manager tells you how you and your team are doing, perhaps you could speak to your manager to ask how you can get more feedback from customers. Being told how we are doing is a great motivator in times of uncertainty.
As we are all unique individuals, we are all motivated differently and sometimes in the workplace we are not clear on what motivates us. Are you clear on what motivates you? Once you have reflected on this, you could share your thoughts with your manager as this will help both of you work more effectively together. On this same note, what motivates your team? How do you know? There are often some surprises to be had here. One way of doing this is to get your team to think about (and share – this is the important part) five key questions. These are:
- Why I come to work?
- What motivates me?
- What creates pressure for me?
- How you will know when I am feeling stress
- This is what I need when I am feeling stressed
This is a really useful exercise to do in bringing the team together, it also takes the guesswork out of how to keep individual members of your team motivated.
Taking care of yourself is something that you could give consideration to, for example, taking time out, regular breaks, eating well, and trying not to place too many demands on yourself.