I have found that regardless of how motivated I am, if the people around me are unmotivated, we aren’t going to be very successful as a team.
This is why it is important a leader learns to recognize when a team is decreasing in motivation.
And here’s the greater reason.
Motivation is often a catalyst for momentum.
When a team loses motivation, momentum is certain to suffer loss. It’s far easier to motivate a team, in my opinion, than it is to build momentum in an organization.
So, as leaders, we must learn what destroys motivation.
Here are 8 killers of motivation and, ultimately, momentum:
Routine – When people have to do the same activity repeatedly for too long they eventually lose interest in it. This is especially true in a day where rapid change is all around them. Allowing people to change how they do the work needs to be a built-in part of the organization.
Fear – When people are afraid, they stop taking risks. They fail to give their best effort and stop trying. Fear keeps a team from moving forward. Leaders can remove fear by welcoming mistakes, lessening control and celebrating each step.
Success – A huge win or a period of success can lead to complacency. When the team feels they’ve “arrived” they may no longer feel the pressure to keep learning. When leaders begin to recognize this they should provide new opportunities and introduce greater challenges or risks.
Lack of direction – People need to know what a win looks like – according to the leader. When people are left to wonder, they lose motivation, do nothing or make up their own answers. As leaders, we should continually pause to make sure our team understands what they are being asked to do.
Failure – Some people can’t get past a failure. As leaders, we sometimes fail to accept failure as a part of building success. Failure should be used to build motivation. As a person strives to recover, lessons are learned, which can help the team.
Apathy – A team that loses their passion for the vision will experience a decline in motivation. That’s why leaders must consistently cast vision. Leader, you should be a cheerleader; encouraging others with a high level of enthusiasm for the vision.
Burnout – When a team or team member has no opportunity to rest, they can’t maintain motivation. Good leaders learn when to push to excel and when to push to relax. Everyone needs to pause occasionally to re-energize.
Feeling under-valued – When someone feels their contribution to the organization isn’t viewed as important, they lose the motivation to continually produce. Leaders must learn to be encouraging and appreciative of the people they lead.
If you see any of these at work in your organization, address them now!
The problem with all of these is that we often don’t recognize them when they are killing motivation. In fact, we fail to see them until momentum has begun to suffer. Many times this makes it hard or, at times, too late to fully recover.