- Written by Dr. Joelle K. Jay, Ph.D
As a business leader, department head, or business owner, you know one of your key tasks is to keep your team motivated. Long hours in a laundry or linen processing plant can take a toll on motivation -- especially with summer on our heels. And, the state of our economy doesn’t help. To keep your team motivated, you need to constantly remind them of the company's vision, hold them accountable to targets and goals, mentor them, and support them in their work. But how do you stay motivated?
When it comes to leaders, motivation is about engagement. How engaged are you in your work? How committed are you to results? Are you pushing forward with a sense of purpose and drive, or are you simply going through motions? To be your best, you need to give serious thought to what makes you flourish and succeed.
When you are motivated, you are a wholehearted participant in your own life. You feel confident, energized and engaged. However, when you are de-motivated, you "lose your edge." Your energy decreases. Your stress rises. Whether you feel your motivation waning or you want to keep your current high level of motivation on a roll, the following suggestions will help you stay at your best.
STAY CONNECTED TO WHAT YOU ARE DOING
It's one thing to do the work you're paid to do; it's another to be fulfilled by the work you do. If you're doing your job for the money or title, you could find that over time it's a harder job to do. But if you're connected to what you do you'll feel motivated because you'll be achieving a bigger purpose for yourself.
Staying connected to your values —the principles, standards, and qualities that guide you – will keep you motivated. Recall a time when everything was ‘just right’ in your work or personal life. Jot down what it was about that memory that made it memorable and significant. Then highlight the words that meet the definition of values as principles, standards, and qualities. Your own words will tell you what your values are.
KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO GET BETTER
Motivation comes from learning how to be better. Ask yourself, "What am I trying to achieve?" and "What do I need to learn to reach my goal?" It’s not about taking a workshop or reading a book. It's about challenging yourself to stretch yourself into a new level of results.
When you practice learning as an element of personal leadership, you stay motivated and get better results for yourself and for your work. By learning, you empower yourself to have, do, and be whatever you choose. With empowerment comes confidence. You don't second-guess yourself or worry you'll fail, because you know if you get it wrong, you'll have the ability to figure out how to get it right.
FIND THE RIGHT SUPPORT SYSTEM
When you're a leader, your team leans on you. You guide them, support them and instruct them. However, when you're on top, there’s no one for you to lean on. That's when you need to look outside of your organization, your role, or even your industry for the people who can mentor you. Look for those whose style you’d like to emulate, people who inspire you by the way they lead and the results they get. Connect with them and learn how you can become more with the help of others who have already done what you want to do.
The more carefully you build your support team, the more powerful it will be. The people on your support team help you stay motivated because they expand you by giving you access to what you don't know. It doesn't have to be lonely at the top.
MAINTAIN A SENSE OF BALANCE
While maintaining a work/life balance is not a way to stay motivated, it is a way to keep from becoming de-motivated. Being an effective and motivated leader should not come at the expense of quality of life, and quality of life should not come at the expense of business results. The key is to define what that balance looks like for you. If you're a senior leader, balance may not look very traditional. It might not be 9-5, Monday through Friday, with holidays and weekends off. Strive for what works for you and fulfills you in your personal life – whatever that work/life balance is – while understanding that it may not look traditional. Even if you can't carve out chunks of time, at least create some mental space where you can relax, turn off distractions, and let yourself go.
MOTIVATE THE MOTIVATOR
Staying motivated in today's economy and work reality can be difficult for anyone. But when you take responsibility for motivating yourself and others, you become a true inspiration and can better reach your goals. As a result, your vision, your potential, and your efforts all leave a mark.
Quick Rinse - News From Around The World
Mac-Gray Corporation’s Lighten The Load™ Initiative
WALTHAM, Mass. — Mac-Gray Corporation, a provider of laundry facilities management services to multi-unit housing locations announced that it received the Carbonfund.org Foundation’s first annual For People and Planet award in the education category. Since Mac-Gray launched its Lighten the Load(TM) initiative in 2008 with Carbonfund.org, they have partnered with 29 academic institutions to offset more than 40 million pounds of carbon.
“This award highlights Mac-Gray’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Our Lighten the Load™ initiative is helping to reduce the carbon footprints of college and university laundry programs, while educating students on the benefits of being ‘green’ in the laundry room,” said Stewart G. MacDonald, Mac-Gray’s chief executive officer.