We all have experienced motivation. Whenever we start something new, a new experience, a new job, a new hobby, even a new year, we have no problem finding motivation. It seems like you have all the possibilities of accomplishing something great and life seems like a brand new page at this stage.
It happens to me all the time, whenever I start something new, it is easy for me to be excited, to invest time and energy into it and to creatively dream about it, but what about a month after? What about a year after you start that routine that after a while it becomes a familiar activity? Is motivation really something temporary? Can you keep it for longer than just a few weeks and months? What things work as motivators?
Reward and challenge
You are probably familiar with both of these as methods to keep people motivated, whether at school, work or in any other activity. Thinking of what they will get through the task or project is a reward based motivation, so an example of this would be you do all the work you need to do now, because then that allows you to enjoy your holidays with nothing work-related to worry about. You might study and do homework because you want to get that degree or get good grades at school. And even kids, they might behave well thinking that their parents will reward them with permission to go out or even gifts. Reward is definitely a good motivator.
Now, for some people, motivation is also found in overcoming challenges rather than rewards. These people are not as excited for what they can get at the end (even though they also appreciate it a lot), but they are excited by the challenge itself. They start the task thinking of all the ways that they can reach their goal. This type of motivation tends to be a better trigger for creativity for it is more focused in the process rather than the end result.
Even though reward and challenge are great and useful motivators for team members, nothing will be more effective than finding a sense of purpose in what they do. Adopting the vision of the company, dreaming about what you want to become and the difference you want to make in the community or in the world with what you do is definitely what will keep you in the long run.
At one point the challenge stops being a challenge, and team members start looking for the next thing to overcome, and once you reach a reward it might not be as satisfying as you thought it would. So through all the ups and downs of your career, your purpose is what will keep you focused and motivated most of the time. What on earth are you here for? What is that one thing (or things) that you can uniquely contribute to this life and of course this company? It would be time for your team members to ask themselves this question.
Ready for next level
As a team leader it is your job to recognise when your team members have reached a milestone and re ready for the next level of challenge. People who are stuck in the same task that requires the same level of skill don’t grow and this demotivates them because there is no sense of self-realisation. If you see someone is awesome at what they do and easily get bored with their responsibilities, give them more, maybe give them a more complicated project, so they can continue to grow and be challenged.
Also as every leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that your team members are receiving a fair and appropriate reward for their contribution. We are talking about wages mainly, these should be enough to cover their basic needs and allow them to live a dignified life apart from the basics. Wages obviously depend on the type of job as well (full time or part time) but it is our job as leaders to make sure people are not abused in this sense.
What could motivate you more than to work with friends? It is extremely important to take care of the working environment including the way that team members interact with each other. Cultivate a team spirit and see how people find motivation in reaching a goal together and doing what they love as a team.
After office activities might be ideal to help workmates connect with each other, but the way relationships and conversations take place in the company also say a lot about whether they feel like a team or not.
People are always better together! So build a team that people will enjoy working with!
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