Too many managers and partners never learned how to motivate others, so they do things that have proven to be either ineffective or counterproductive, yet expecting them to “work this time.” In the firms where I train and consult, they are developing the practices and norms that establish a motivational culture.
But this message isn’t directed to your firm’s management. It’s directed to you because you must assume the responsibility to motivate and energize yourself—a competency that will propel you to succeed more than any other, especially under stressful conditions.
Motivational theory and research have identified three areas from which your motivational energy is sourced and sustained. You have to make sure they are in proper balance in order to continue your motivational energy. These areas can get out of balance so easily, especially when circumstances lure you otherwise. So here they are.
First, be sure you are connected well with others in your work group. You, along with the other non-robots you work with, are social creatures and have social needs. I don’t mean you have to take vacations together, but that you need to feel in sync with them as you work together to achieve results. Taking the time and energy to build those relationships are easily redirected to work when the workload is heavy, but will eventually drain your motivational energy.
Progress To Achieve
Then you have to track your progress to achievement. While you may bristle at project budgets, review notes, deadlines and performance feedback, these are indicators that you are achieving. They aren’t the only ones, but they are important ones. If you really don’t like them, it may be that you don’t like what they reveal about your progress. Just sayin’.
Get In Control
Finally, you have to feel like you’re in charge of your work. This can be difficult sometimes, given all that is out of your control, like client demands and regulatory deadlines. One way of getting in control is to set your own work pace and deadlines, as long as they exceed the requirements of others.
There is obviously much more to triggering and maintaining your motivation, but learning to stimulate these three sources of connection, achievement and control will keep you energized, especially when stressed. Make a quick assessment of yourself. What should you do today to rebalance your motivational energy?