Monthly Archives: August 2020

Mastering your Motivation

mastering your motivation

Four strategies for Mastering your Motivation

Mastering your motivation and how you feel determines your behaviour, your results, and effects the people around you. If you want your team to be motivated it starts with you.

Do you ever get those days when it seems the world is conspiring against you, when it’s a struggle to find your motivation?

I know I do!

I’ve left the back door open and my kittens have escaped, a red sock has got mixed in with the white wash, a saucepan boils over, I burn the toast…

Particularly after a long week or a few late nights we can all get a little tetchy, and it’s very easy to start to apportion blame, even if it is just blaming our tools. As the saying goes “a bad workman blames his tools”.

But as I know, there was only one thing to blame, and that’s me!

Although on each of these examples it is just down to me – operator error, we can’t always control our experience.

But we can control is our response to it and therefore the outcome.

Examples of this are when we allow others to influence how we feel, for example when someone criticises us personally, when a customer complains, or when a colleague snaps at us. Or when something happens that’s not aimed at us personally, but we know it will mean more work, or impact the business, such as new government guidelines. Or it could simply be something as mundane as the weather.

I’m sure we can all think of people we live or work with who are “Mood Hoovers”; they are the ones who don’t like it when you are full of the joys of spring, when they’ve got out of bed on the wrong side and made up their mind to stay in their grumpy state, determined to burst your bubble and literally suck your good mood and all your energy from you.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can hurt you without your consent”.

As a trainer and coach I know only too well how the way I feel determines my behaviour, and therefore my results, including the knock on effect on the people I’m working with.The  ‘trick’ to mastering your motivation is to decide, irrespective of what happens on the outside, that I choose to feel good on the inside. We can’t control the wind, but we can learn to set a better sail.

Easier said than done? Here are my top four strategies for mastering your motivation:

1. Start by being outcome focused.

It’s inevitable we get more of what we focus on, so if I’m focusing on something positive, for example “how can I make today a great day?” opposed to “I know today is all going to go horribly wrong!” I know I have a much greater chance of having a good day. My mind is focused on the things I do want.

This strategy also translates well into the workplace, keeping people focused on a positive outcome If people know what’s expected of them, and more importantly the outcome, there is a much greater chance that they’ll achieve it. We start to pick up on the knowledge, skills and behaviours that take us further forward towards the goal, and can adjust our course accordingly.

2. Always playing from a 10.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, that if we approach things from a position of negativity the chances are we’ll end up with a negative result.

So instead of approaching challenging tasks or people from an unresourceful state such as self-pity, lethargy, lacking confidence, confused or expecting failure, approach from a resourceful state such as creative thinking, how you can have some fun, being confident, enthusiastic and energetic.  It’s amazing how this rubs off on even the most reluctant people!

The same goes for problem solving in the workplace – if the boss implies that it’s tough, it probably can’t be done, or that people aren’t up to the task, guess what? They’ll prove the boss right. This doesn’t mean to say that they should make everything out to be easy, but let’s think about how much doom and gloom we’ve heard of late and the impact this has on us.

3. Reframing

When problems arise, (let’s face it, even with the best laid plans things can go array from time to time) rather than trying to blame others, approaching these from a place of independency. Asking “what can I do to improve the situation?” “What’s in my control?” Rather than focusing on what’s gone wrong, seeing it as a failure.

Take the approach that Thomas Edison took, by establishing what you’ve learnt.

This is also a useful technique for anyone lacking confidence coaching situation; learn from it and move on. Developing this approach in the workplace can engender a learning culture, where it’s OK to make mistakes, as long as you learn from it and don’t make the same mistake again. What better way to develop people and foster creativity and innovation.

4. Emotion is created by motion

The way we feel emotionally affects the way we feel physically. The reverse is also true. When we move physically, we move emotionally, too. So, our physiology will influence our feelings and the feelings of people around us. This means, if we mooch around all day lethargically, we’re far more likely to elicit negative emotions, than if we’re smiling, making eye contact and making gestures. It’s difficult, if not impossible to be depressed if you stand tall, head up, and with a smile on your face and with deeper breathing. Smiling and laughing make us feel good and happy.

The energy we put into our actions will be reflected in the energy of those around us.

It is remarkable to see how our behaviours (winning or not) have a knock on effect on the people around us, and the results we ultimately achieve. And I’m sure that if you were to ask any of your colleagues they can certainly tell when you’re playing from something other than a ten.

What winning behaviours do you, or could you, adopt to master your motivation?

Take Action to Master your Motivation

If you only do one thing: The next challenge you face today ask the question “What’s within my control, and what can I do to resolve the problem or improve the situation?”

Related video Choose your Mood

Related article Misery Loves Company



How to engage employees returning to work after furlough

How to engage employees returning to work

Conducting return to work one to one meetings to engage employees returning to work after furlough or working from home

As more of your team return to work, they will probably be returning with a mix of emotions. Some will welcome getting back to some routine, others may have missed to social aspects of work, and others are just relieved they still have a job to come back to.

But despite that, many will have concerns about their long term future. Some may be uncomfortable about changes to their role, and some may be anxious about their safety, either within work or on their journey to work.

If left to fester, these concerns can have a big impact.

Not just on the person concerned, but as this gets picked up by colleagues, it can have a knock on effect on how they feel and how engaged they are too.

All of which ultimately has an impact on productivity and your customers’ experience.

One way to help engage employees returning, is to conduct return to work 1:1 meetings with everyone. This is something I’ve been helping a couple of my clients with over the past few weeks.

Unlike a regular one to one (which are always important to engage employees at any other time) these won’t focus so much on reviewing performance, but will be geared towards looking forward.

Here is the 7 step CLEARER framework I’ve created to engage employees returning to work

1. Connect

The easiest way to make a connection is to ask about their time on furlough. What have they been up to? What’s been good about their time at home? Have they taken up any new hobbies, discovered or rediscovered things that are important to them or activities they enjoy, have any of their priorities in life changed as a result of time away from work?

2. Listen

It’s important to discover how they feel about being back at work. What concerns do they have, what questions about the business, their role, new ways of working? Some people are very good at putting on a brave face; listen to their tone and watch their body language. Listen out for the things they don’t say or any questions they avoid answering. You may need to do some ‘fluff busting’ to get to the heart of any concerns. (Fluff busting works well in any situation when it’s important to get to the heart of the matter)

3. Establish expectations

It’s inevitable that some ways of working and duties will have changed. If there are duties that used to be part of their role that are now less of a priority, explain why this is. If these were tasks they did well or took a particular pride in doing, be sensitive to how you handle this, so they don’t get the impression that their previous efforts were not appreciated.

4. Agree any actions

As a result of your discussion they may have some suggestions, so make it clear how these will be actioned, by whom and when. Check what they need from you, and your commitment to do what’s needed, so you both know where you stand.

5. Reassure

Let them know you are there to support them, and to come to you with later questions, concerns or suggestions. Reassure them of your commitment to their safety and ongoing support.

6. Enthuse, excite and energise

It’s all too easy to dwell on the past few months. Behaviour breeds behaviour, so demonstrate your enthusiasm and excitement about the opportunities ahead.

7. Review date

Set follow up dates with everyone. Even though you’ve told them you are there for them, some would never initiate a conversation or come to you for help unless it’s in the privacy of a scheduled one to one meeting.

Of course, don’t forget those team members still on furlough or working from home. It’s still important to maintain regular contact with them too.

If you only do one thing to engage employees returning to work:

Get a date in the diary today to sit down with each of your team on a one to one basis. Then stick to it!

Here’s a short video on conducting back to work one to ones (which I recorded before creating the CLEARER framework)