Jump Starting Team Member Motivation

One of the common challenges leaders face is how to turn an uninspired team member into a motivated person who works towards achieving success.

The first step to identify the reason for the lack of motivation, and from there you can create a targeted plan to help them.

Here are the most common reasons underlying an uninspired employee and how to guide them back to action.

Low care factor

Caring is one of the things that make us human, but it can be a hindrance as if we don’t care about something, it's very hard to motivate ourselves to do it.

The key to combating this reason for a lack of motivation is to dig deeper and find out what does inspire the person.

What makes us care is a fairly complex mix of many factors. Interest in the task plays a huge part in caring, as does the ability for someone to understand and appreciate how this task links to the things that they do care about. How much value the task adds to the overall picture is also important. While to a person the task may be just one thing in a long list that helps contribute to the success of the company, showing them how this is crucial or how it cements the company's values, can help to increase interest.

Another important facet to unlock is how the task relates to the person’s skill set – and therefore whether it utilises their expertise. Communicate the reasons why they are so good at the task, which at the same time will highlight their strengths.

Anger, anxiety or depression

Any of the above emotions can be crippling in the workplace and people suffering from these can find it difficult to achieve tasks.

The art of listening is your primary tool. Meet with the person in a private, quiet space and ask them calmly what's causing them to be upset. Then replay what they said so they have a chance to clarify things. When people feel that they’ve been understood, their negative emotions subside.

If someone is highly emotional, giving both of you time to think about next steps can be useful. A good idea is to thank them for being open, tell them you'd like to think about the best way forward and then to set up a meeting the next day to discuss further.

In this case providing your team member with easy, practical steps to help them overcome these emotions can be beneficial, as well as offering your support throughout the process. Sometimes anger and anxiety is a result of a person feeling inadequate so helping them with encouragement and direction in their workload can help them achieve their goals and as a result, lead to the subsidence of anxious feelings.

Lack of confidence

If people don't believe they can do something and achieve the desired result, not surprisingly motivation can be low.

What you can do is to help them understand the reasons why they are struggling with something. Once you've ascertained that, you can help them to find a solution and a way forward. This may involve showing them a different way of approaching the task, or a change in communication or planning. Breaking tasks down step-by-step to make it more manageable can also help to inspire motivation. This will require guidance from yourself or someone in the team who has mastered the particular task that the person is struggling with.

Building a culture of encouragement, confidence and encouraging competence is crucial to help combat these feelings. Positive feedback reminding the person of how they overcame similar challenges, or how their particular skills achieved a great result in other tasks is a valuable tool.

Believing a task is beneath them

Every job has aspects to it that we wish someone else could do, however when it gets to the point where people feel that they are over-qualified and over-experienced to do what the job requires, motivation can be affected.

The key here is not to challenge the person's expertise or ability. Work with them around how they can approach the task differently or showcase how it works with the bigger picture and why their particular knowledge is what's needed for the task.

A motivated team and workplace play a crucial role in achieving business success. As a leader, it's your role to uncover what's behind a lack of motivation and to implement the right solution to get things back on track.