Sometimes its tough to be a member of a team. Especially if you feel that a colleague doesn’t have the same focus on the job as you do. Its hard to maintain your commitment to a task or the business if those around you lack that same commitment.
This lack of motivation in a colleague or team member is a distraction, it demotivates others and will drag the whole team down. They could be silently distracted, spending time on social media or gazing off into space for lengthy periods of time while we’re heads down and focussed. That silence speaks loudly. It's deafening.
Managers and team leaders have many ways to motivate their teams. Keeping them focused on the long term goals of the business, maintaining an open dialogue and inspiring a positive inclusive culture in the workplace will help. Support and encouragement, recognition and reward are all valuable tools for this. Often though, its when these team members are away from the direct supervision of their leaders when cracks begin to form. It could be work related, or maybe due to an issue outside of work, but low motivation breeds low morale for one and eventually, for all. It allows personal resentment to set in, and relationships become fractured. Inevitably, it has a detrimental effect on productivity, and that’s when we all need to take a lead.
So what can we do as colleagues? How can we help? And more importantly, why? You could be reading this thinking “why should I help? Its not my job to motivate others”. Strictly speaking, you’d be wrong. This is a fellow team member, and the stronger the team, the better the work.
As members of the same team, it falls on all of us to support and encourage each other.
We can start by setting each other the right example. Simply by approaching our own individual workload with a diligent and positive attitude can send out the right motivational signals. If colleagues see us being recognised or rewarded for our work, they are likely to feel inspired to do better themselves. At the same time, their lack of motivation will be highlighted by our achievements as they see us completing tasks and meeting deadlines regularly. Its not shaming, exactly, but…..
We could always listen to each other more. Communication is a two way street. Sometimes we get so bogged down in the demands of the day, we forget to listen. And let's be honest, sometimes we just don't want to hear. But we all appreciate and benefit from the opportunity to have input into a decision, and if we feel like that input is being taken seriously, if we feel that we’re being heard, we’re far more likely to engage. So listening is important. If we feel, as team members, that we have an ally and that we’re being supported by our colleagues we feel valued and find it easier to focus on our work, without losing the motivation. Another way of maintaining that communication is to ask questions of our peers. Ask for their opinion. Demand their input. Seek their help when there’s a solution needed. We’re a team, and teams are built on strong communication.
Keep it friendly. Its always important to remember, a team is not a machine. If we have strong personal bonds, the bonds in our work are strengthened too. When we know people as the people they are rather than just as the role they fulfil, its so much easier for us all to stay motivated. Work can be tough at times, so its good to know we’re among friends. We all need a support network in one form or another. We should all inspire ambition in each other and encourage each other to stay curious and keep asking questions. When we stop being curious, we lose motivation. Life can be tough, work can be tough, but if we support each other, we can motivate our team forward and achieve more.