Don’t Let The Ship Sink: How To Deal With An Unmotivated Team
Losing motivation is frustrating. It’s frustrating for the person who has lost it as it is for the ones dealing with them. There’s a lot of stigma surrounding it, blaming laziness or settling, and making it hard for people to sympathize with the ones going through this work disengagement and unproductivity. It’s easy to assume their discontent can be easily brushed off, that it’s all about sucking it up and dealing with it.
However, there’s a lot of underlying reasons why people lose their willpower in the workplace. Leaders play a special role in helping their team fight these work blues by understanding where everything went wrong and how they can get their sparkle back. On top of that, reenforcing some good practices can prevent such situations.
We know everyone must be tired of hearing this, but communication really is the key.
For starters, managers and team leaders can’t approach an unmotivated team or employee as a problem to be solved. People are people, not math problems. Which makes me emphasize why soft skills are so important. Interpersonal skills will play a major role in this type of situation, because the main goal is to understand the ones going through a rough patch. Showing you care is already a fantastic starter for letting them know there will be an effort made to turn the current picture into a better one. Work emotional intelligence into your work culture!
Their Input Is Important
Everyone hates feeling like nobody is paying attention to their inputs. Creating space and time for employees to share their ideas, feelings and concerns should be a priority in every working environment. It can be done privately or you can leave an appropriate time space during weekly sync ups for them to share their ideas and concerns. Obviously, the momentum of opportunity can change, so everyone who’s in the leader position should keep a positive and open attitude towards employee feedback and opinion.
Annual checkups can be an alternative and will bring the opportunity to let every professional let out how their experience is evolving so far and which expectations and/or worries they have in mind.
Self Expression Plays A Role
Not only are their input and opinions relevant, they want to feel helpful overall and put their unique strengths to use. Allowing them to work on their skills or acquiring new ones constitutes a great opportunity for them to contribute in a refreshing way for the company. At Exaud, we encourage employees to take two hours per week to work on their education, personal projects and skills development. Although we have our incredibly busy moments and sometimes it doesn’t leave time to work on these personal matters, it’s always reassuring to know the company backs up our professional and personal aspirations.
‘What Am I Doing Here’
It’s easier for employees to lose motivation when they don’t care enough to do their job or feel like their purpose is completely lost. Getting someone out of this trap can be tricky since leaders can’t simply switch tasks or even job roles overnight. Appealing to multiple values of said task will help the employee power through something they find undesirable: the task can be important and therefore its value is how crucial it to achieve larger benefits, but it can also be of interest (if it’s intellectually compelling) or related to their own identity (engaging in team work, solving an analytical problem or finding solutions under pressure). The goal is to keep them from thinking that their existence is condemned to be one of infinite tasks and boredom. They have a purpose and the company moves forwards thanks to their work.
They Can Fix It
Employees might get stuck in a back alley of self sabotage and disruptive emotions. We already mentioned how important it is to work emotional intelligence into your company culture, and the truth is, the mental state of your employees can be the reason why they’re demotivated in the first place. Sure, they can feel bad about their current job situation and grow those feelings, but the other way around still is pretty common. Don’t judge them, help them. If they’re having trouble with tasks because their mental health is putting up a toll on their performance, listen carefully and walk them through the process. Effective strategies will always rely on empathy and leaders’ mistakes in situations like this often rely on the fact that they don’t believe employees should ask for help. We all need a little push sometimes. Even if they don’t understand why they’re not able to execute a task, instead of trying to blame the employees for finding excuses for not carrying their job out, give them a hand. The fear of failure can be extremely overwhelming and cut off the best of talents.
What advice would you give to a demotivated employee? And have you ever felt like you just didn’t belong to your workplace anymore? Send us an email with your experiences: firstname.lastname@example.org
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