Motivate the Unmotivated

Motivate the Unmotivated

We all run across unmotivated people during our time as leaders. It can be at work, school, or at your home. Let’s look at some ways that we can help those unmotivated to get out of their ruts and become productive.

Find the root cause

Finding the root cause of the person being motivated is the most important piece of the puzzle. Here are some potential areas to start in.

Help them see the vision of why we do what we do.
It’s understood but often forgotten, that we don’t communicate the bigger picture to others as much as we think that we do.  They may not be making the connection between what they are doing and how it is impacting the larger goal and picture.  Continue to communicate the vision and how they specifically are a part of making that vision a reality. Helping a person find the meaning in what they do sometimes is enough. We will cover this topic in-depth at the turn of the year.

Help them make an emotional connection. 
I may tell you it’s important for us to hit a sales goal so that we can give X amount of money to the local homeless shelter. That may motivate you. What if I took you on a trip to that shelter and you got to meet the moms and children as they got food and water from the center? You’d likely be really invested then. The same idea applies to your leadership. Try to find an emotional connection to link the person to the desired behavior.  I would often take my top and bottom performers on these types of field trips. It rewarded one and pulled at the heartstrings of the other. Don’t worry if you don’t have something as tangible as the example to bring them to. Bring in someone that has been impacted by the work of the group to speak, share success stories, testimonies, and other things to show the heart behind the work.

They may not feel valued. 
Another potential cause is that they may not feel valued in their role. Did you get the job instead of them? Do they feel that their work is underappreciated? They may feel that you or the organization cares more about the work they do instead of them as a person. They may feel like they are stuck in their job. The best way to address this one is to be vulnerable and ask the person if they feel valued. You’ll be more likely to get a true answer if you approach with empathy while being humble and curious.

Set the Standard and Coach

Once you find the root cause, it’s time to set your standard, coach to it, and identify if they are the right fit or not. 

Set clear expectations.
Check in to make sure that they have a clear and proper understanding of what the expectations are. It may be as simple as that they don’t know the expectations or how the expectations apply to their work. Once you communicate the expectation, stick to it. Don’t waiver or compromise. Your standard should be the standard.

Consistent coaching and follow-up.
As you are going through the above steps, it’s important to be consistent in coaching and follow-up. You and your leadership team should be having a continuing conversation until the person consistently exhibits the behaviors you are looking for. I’ve seen some beautiful turnaround stories and all it took was going through the steps and staying consistent on coaching. Lastly, there will be times when that person simply is not in the right place. Don’t settle for subpar performance. Help them find a place that’s a better fit for them.

Help your people find the motivation that they need to be a powerful contributor to the team.

Make a better tomorrow.