Pumping up your team?

Last updated Dec 10, 2020 | Managing Introverts

Pumping up your team?

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If some of your staff are demotivated, they may be doing the “normal day to day stuff”, but nothing extra. Good news, they’re doing what you want; bad news you want “that bit extra”. Really bad news, you cannot motivate somebody else. But here’s X ideas that may help you inspire them to motivate themselves.

Are we dancers?

A friend of mine, who used to be a dancer, recently told me what some dance troupes were like, some of the dancers giving their all and some who were just “marking time”. If you were in the audience you might not notice the individuals, but it made the difference between good and WOW as you looked at the overall performance.

Perhaps you recognise that statement as you think about your team and overall performance?

Are we human? Or are we dancer?

With apologies to The Killers, it’s one of those lyrics that always stuck in my head. You can watch the video at the end of this article

Dancers and motivation

I’m not talking about people who are not performing (you need to deal with them differently), but those who are just not quite there. Maybe they’re a bit ‘tyred out’ (you’d have to read the article to get that one) or demotivated.

You can’t motivate somebody else

You cannot motivate somebody else. Sorry, that upsets some people and I ‘ll say it again.

You can’t motivate somebody else because motivation is internal, it grows from personal responsibility and desire. However motivated you are, your motivation won’t pass to them.

People do whatever seems to them like the best thing, using their perceptions of themselves, their job/ situation, people around them and what they believe is expected of them. They act based on their own needs and beliefs of what should or shouldn’t be done.

You can inspire people

You can inspire your team and create conditions for them to find motivation. How can you create conditions where your team can motivate themselves (to take the actions you want).

  • Understanding them and their preferences is always a good start. If they’re introvert there are many articles on this site to help you understand them more.
  • Some people need to have confidence in your as their leader. It often helps when they see the big vision and higher purpose.
  • Maybe they need to belong to a team (many introverts do want to be a contributing part of a cohesive team).
  • Some like to see things as puzzles to be solved.
  • Each person wants something slightly different and it goes without saying that this means more than just wondering if they’re introvert or extrovert (although considering how that affects things is a good starting point).
  • If they think you’re not motivated or interested – it’s much harder. Work on your motivation and be ready to explain why what you care about is important to the business, and how it could be important to them.
  • This does not mean that you, as an extroverted leader who likes big showy gestures and actions should repeat these in front of quieter introverts!

Which motivation killers do you impose?

Consider if you are killing off their motivation and stop

  • Too much people time? Introverts are sometimes drained by spending too much time with people. Do you need to let some of your team work quietly, or differently?
  • Mindless meetings? Some years ago just when I was all fired up and tackling things I’d be “asked” at the last minute to attend a meeting; motivation murdered. Worse when it was badly organised, had no clear agenda, objective, or control. How many mindless meetings have killed your motivation? Click here for ideas to improve the meetings you impose on others.
  • Arbitrary goals: Many introverts suffer from being given what feel like arbitrary goals. Chasing after something that doesn’t mean anything to you won’t help you, so it won’t help them! Stop, reflect, how can you help them find something more meaningful?
  • To structure, or not to structure? Most introverts prefer to work in a structured way on structured problems. If you’re giving very unstructured work, you may not be helping their motivation. Define objectives clearly and precisely.

Help them be ready

If some of your team are low on energy and willpower, are there things you can do to help them recharge?

Having a discussion with team members to help them identify things in the following categories may be helpful. Conversations like this work best when they’re more like coaching conversations; that is helping them identify things rather than telling them.

  • Putting up with things: When you put up things rather than enjoy, more motivation drains away. What things can you help them deal with or dump (give permission to)? So they hold onto more motivation?
  • Half finished? When my PC has more and more windows open, it slows down. The mental equivalent is half complete jobs. Incomplete jobs where team members are waiting for you to finalise things, sign them off, agree budget, or even where you’ve moved on and not told them. Things often sit on people’s lists because they didn’t know “the boss” no longer views it as a priority. An honest conversation about how your priorities have changed may help.

How do you “motivate” your team, and do you do it differently for introverts and extroverts?

You may also like to read:

Or listen to: 

An interview with Helene Jewell of the International Association of Facilitators on how to improve your meetings.


You may also like to read:

Or listen:

Gina Gardiner is well known for her leadership expertise and illuminates the way for enlightened leaders to create a more profitable & meaningful mission. Here’s our discussion on leadership and managing introverts.

Related content you may find useful:
leadership | motivation
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