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Overcoming motivational barriers

Motivation accounts for 40 percent of the success of team projects. However, managers are often struggling to effectively motivate uninspired employees.

Effective self-motivation is one of the key factors differentiating high-achieving individuals from others. To a certain extent, motivation is personal – what motivates one person, means nothing to another, and some of us find motivating ourselves easier than others. However, there are common personal effectiveness strategies that work for most people, from short term to long term initiatives.

To drive personal effectiveness, it’s essential for leaders at all levels to define and understand what success looks like and create an action plan for self-development. Assessing strengths and weaknesses in influencing others and examining current work relationships can help to understand their own motivation style, see how it works in practice and the implications for others. Effective interaction skills, questioning techniques and active listening as well as presenting ideas and solutions to others are critical for leading a highly engaged and motivated team and positively impact the leader’s ability to inspire others.

Setting long term goals

Goals trigger motivation. A number of studies have shown that when we have a defined goal in mind, we are more focused on working towards it. A sales person with a specific sales target is more likely to close a higher number of deals in comparison to another sales person whose ambitions are more abstract, such as doing their best. Same applies for an individual with a specific fitness goal, compared to another one who’s goal is to lose weight.

In an environment where work is done without the benefit of clearly defined goals, it’s difficult to determine whether the right work is getting done and without a clear focus on goals and objectives priorities can easily conflict. Getting more focus, listing goals and objectives as you understand them and highlighting potential conflicts amongst them can help to avoid distractions and get into a routine that boosts motivation and productivity.

From self-motivation to team motivation

Personal effectiveness of leaders can directly impact the motivation and drive of their teams. Gaining awareness of the ways in which their behaviour can affect others is the first step in developing interpersonal techniques, removing blocks to personal energy and gaining confidence to drive personal achievements.

It is essential for managers to first accurately identify the reasons behind the person’s lack of motivation. There can be many reasons why employees might be demotivated – mismatch between the task and their values, lack of self-efficacy, negative emotions or attribution errors, to name a few. Assessing the nature of the motivational failure before taking an action is critical, as applying the wrong approach can have quite the opposite effect and cause motivation to falter further.

At Acumen we pride ourselves in offering learning solutions that help leaders and their teams to drive success. Our ‘Personal Effectiveness’ programme helps participants to

understand their own personal effectiveness profile and produce an action plan, develop effective interaction skills and demonstrate an understanding of their own motivation style, providing them with the tools and techniques to be highly effective in their day to day work life. For more information, please contact

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