Featured article by Dave Ferguson in CEOWORLD magazine. Reprinted by permission.
Leaders are often faced with the challenge of keeping their team motivated.
But…who motivates the leader?
Leaders are people, just like everyone else. And like others, there are times when they lose momentum, get weary, feel rudderless, or suffer from apathy. During these times, motivation becomes a challenge, even for those who are naturally goal-driven.
Who motivates the leader?
Ultimately, the leader motivates the leader. But when there is nothing left within, he or she must also know where to find outside help.
What can you do to get your motivation back?
This three-part plan, mostly crafted in advance, will get you back on track quickly.
1. Examine Your Wheel of Life
When you are off your game, it means some area of life is out of order. This is why, in coaching, the wheel of life is addressed on a regular basis.
The areas of the wheel are as follows:
If you lack motivation, visit each area, and ask yourself if something in that area is de-motivating you.
For example, you may have just completed a major initiative. Work has had strong focus for weeks, with all hands on deck and high alert. But it paid off with a highly successful launch.
Yet, suddenly, on the heels of great success, you find yourself de-motivated. When you look at your list of upcoming initiatives, you feel a sense of dread. You can’t convey your enthusiasm to your team for the next goals because, frankly, you don’t have any enthusiasm.
This is a warning signal for you to check your wheel of life.
When you do, in this scenario, you will see how spending so much time on work has impacted other areas. This often happens without conscious awareness until you stop and examine each area.
Physical recalibration is one of the first areas to address. Good health is central to everything you do in life. It is a game changer. To regain motivation, first be sure you are rested, well-hydrated, nourished, and refreshed by physical activity.
Beyond that, look to the other areas that need to be adjusted. Perhaps as part of that work cycle, you tapped into a great deal of mental energy. You will need to refill the bucket.
Relationships are often impacted by a heavy work cycle, so be sure to spend some time with those who mean the most to you.
While many bosses will push themselves and their teams from one intense sprint to the next, with no break in between, wise leaders will pause between initiatives to refresh the wheel of life and allow their team to do the same. Even a short pause can make a difference.
2. Determine Your Personal Motivators
There are essentially four types of personalities, with varying combinations. Each type is motivated and recharged in different ways. For some, doing something active outdoors will quickly re-charge their batteries; while for others, being indoors and reading a book is highly energizing. Some are energized by socialization; others are drained by it. Motivators are different for each person, but every person needs them.
Identify yours ahead of time. Write them down. As a leader, it is not a matter of “if” you will need them; it is a matter of “when.”
Energy is everything to a leader. When you lack energy, do something on your list.
3. Identify Your Motivational Team
As a leader, you may not be a direct report; but you do need to create a system of support and accountability. You can do this by proactively identifying your motivational team.
A good motivational team will include four key types of members: mentors, partners, supporters, and mentees.
- Mentors will guide you and hold you accountable during those times when you do not feel engaged.
- Partners will provide the collaboration you need to ignite new ideas; and new ideas bring renewed motivation.
- Supporters are essential to motivation. Those who support you will keep things moving, even when you need to step away and re-charge. Support comes from two facets: systems and people.
- Mentees are often overlooked as part of a motivational team, but their role is critical. They give you purpose and a path to legacy. And there is no greater motivation than purpose.
It is important to identify your motivational team ahead of time so that when you hit a wall, you have a place to turn. Each of the four team roles is critical. If you short-circuit even one of them, you are short-circuiting your ability to experience full impact.
Are you a leader experiencing a lag? Be assured, this is normal. But staying there is not. Follow the plan above, tap into the resources you have identified, and your motivation will return.
Dave Ferguson is “The Leaders’ Coach”, an internationally recognized executive leadership coach, speaker, facilitator, and author. Are you interested in talking to Dave about coaching or having Dave speak to inspire and motivate your team? “ASK COACH DAVE” at 704-907-0171 or at Dave@AskCoachDave.com.