Based on the number of views my previous post on Motivation received, I seem to have hit a nerve and therefore, a topic worthy of a follow up with some tips and guidance for employees struggling with motivation at work.
So here are my tips and suggestions to anyone struggling with motivation:
- Don’t outsource your motivation. That’s right; don’t rely on your manager or director to motivate you. I know that’s easier said than done, particularly if your manager excels at de-motivation, but blame isn’t going to improve your situation; blame affectively dis-empowers you by passing the responsibility to someone else. Start to think about motivation as something you own and can foster. After all, you are not a robot.
- Identify what aspects of your job you enjoy. Remember it may not be the task itself, but what you bring to that task. It may be you enjoy problem solving, creative involvement, process improvement etc. Use that as the basis for formulating your personal development plan.
- Develop Your Personal Development Plan. Were you waiting for the annual review with your manager to create one? Don’t; it’s your personal development plan, you should write and own it. It should cover;
- What you like about your role (see point 2)
- What you don’t like about your role.
- What you want to learn.
- How you want to progress.
- How that will positively impact your employer.
- Be pro-active. Start implementing your plan now. But there is no budget for training? Don’t let that stop you. I’ve been on many expensive courses where the tutor pretty much takes you through a book. Cut out the middle man and buy the book yourself. That won’t break the bank and more than likely you will be able to persuade your manager to purchase the book for you. If not make that small investment in yourself.
- Make Time. Actually you can’t make time, so use the time YOU have effectively. What do you do during your lunch breaks or on the way to work? Facebook, newspaper? Start using the time to learn and train yourself.
- Delegate and Distribute. What are those things you don’t like doing? Can only you do them? Can they be automated, distributed or delegated? I was often asked to develop new approaches or work with new technologies. I loved this aspect of my work, but then I became the subject matter expert and it became part of my role. I don’t like repetition so I documented what I’d learnt and trained others so they could take over. I did this so many times I even came up with my own 3D approach; “Discover, Document, Distribute”. This enabled me to progress within the business and do more of what I enjoyed. It also made business sense as the company wasn’t reliant on a single individual. It was a win-win situation.
- Make a Difference. Discover what’s important to your manager and business. Focus on how you can make a positive difference to what matters. Making a difference matters to most people. It will help your motivation and improve your opportunity for progression.
- Make a Proposal. Don’t wait for your annual review, create your own personal development plan and be specific about the goals you want to achieve and the help you may want from your manager. Don’t write in a vacuum; understand the pressures, constraints and focus of the business. Identify potential objections; If there is no training budget, then what about purchasing the books? If they can’t afford you to be out of the business for an entire week, how about one day a week or making up the time or delegating some of your activities.
- Be on a Mission. Turn your personal development plan into a mission. Start each day with the objective to learn something new, do something new and make a difference. Do your job, but when the opportunity comes – even if this is your lunch break – make progress towards these goals. In my experience motivation is re-enforced by personal achievement, whether that is learning something new, doing something new or making a positive difference. So create opportunities for yourself to achieve in these areas. Don’t rely on external praise for these achievements – that’s outsourcing.
- Be the inspiration. If you do all these things, you will not only start to be an inspiration to those around you, but you will also get noticed by management as someone who stands out from the crowd and worth investing more of their time and money. Remember, the more you care about your personal development, the more your manager will.
If you know someone at work who is de-motivated don’t keep this post to yourself pass it on and help them re-gain empowerment over their own motivation and personal development.