As the dust settles on the initial chaos of getting teams set up to work from home, we may feel our job is done. People are functioning. Everything seems to be working. We’re good to go.
The thing is, technically everything may be up and running but emotionally people may not be.
For a few weeks, the team was adapting to the process of working remotely, how to check in with each other, how to share work, what platforms to use and so on, but they may not have adjusted to the reality of working remotely just yet. One area where this is becoming increasingly evident is in how motivated people are feeling. As the weeks roll into months, remaining motivated and inspired becomes increasingly difficult. We no longer have the buzz of the office, the ad hoc brainstorms, water cooler chats or the coffee breaks that used to boost our energy and motivate us with our work.
As a team leader, it falls upon you to stoke the motivational fire. To keep people marching forward with a sense of excitement, curiosity and possibility. This can be hard when you yourself may not be feeling at the top of your game.
So let’s first look at how to jumpstart your own motivation:
1. Reconnect with why you do what you do. What was it about the role, industry, career that attracted you to it in the first place?
2. What was it you wanted to accomplish? What do you want to accomplish now?
3. What impact have you had, and what impact do you want to have? How is this coming through in what you do?
4. What type of leader are you or do you want to be? How are you demonstrating this in your interactions with your team each day?
Set aside some time and reflect on these questions. Deeply. The answers will provide you with clues about what motivates you and doing the exercise should in of itself rekindle the fire.
Next, remind yourself of the vision and mission you set out for your team. How are you leading them towards that vision? How often are you communicating the vision to the team? What progress has the team made in moving closer to the big goal? What could you be doing better, or more of?
Once you’ve re-engaged yourself, you can work on getting the team re-motivated. The key tip to note here is, if you want people to remain engaged with their work, you need to give them engaging work to do. So:
1. Remind the team of the vision and ask them how they want to contribute to it
2. Give the team the freedom to experiment. Make it OK for them test, try and re-try
3. Present them with opportunities to find solutions to today’s new challenges
4. Focus on work that truly matters – pass them some ownership for shaping the business
5. Add fun. Playfulness fuels our energy which increases our motivation.
Stretching and challenging the team with positive opportunities will ignite their motivation, and once that kicks in their productivity will flourish.