Lost motivation - man in field

Over your leadership career, you will manage team members who have lost motivation. They might even have high potential, but sometimes they just aren’t interested. You need to be able to lead them, too.

Let’s see how we can fix the motivation problems for those good team members who have simply lost motivation.

1. When Your Top Performers Have Lost Motivation, Give Them Something to Aim For

Lost motivation - Target PracticeConsider a work environment without any rewards. What is the point of doing a great job, when there is nothing to work for? You might as well do just enough to get the job done and no more.

When there is no reason to do great work, some people will stop working hard.

There are those with a strong work ethic, who are driven by internal motivators that keep them going even when they aren’t being rewarded. But these people are uncommon and they won’t continue this way forever.

If your talented people have lost motivation, consider whether they have any reason to care. Just getting paid isn’t really enough any more, because you could “just get paid” at many other places.

You need to give people reasons to want to stay at your company, in your team.

You can read more about introducing rewards in this post: Do your people care about your team rewards?

2. When Your Top Performers Have Lost Motivation, Encourage Teamwork

Lost motivation - Worried woman

Freya is a top performer, and wants to do a really great job.

She keeps striving. Then Freya finds that even when she puts in a lot of effort, things go wrong in her team that stop her from achieving her goals.

Freya quickly realises that in this team, if she continues to work so hard, she is likely to be disappointed with the outcome. This hurts, because Freya likes doing good work.

Instead, Freya starts focusing on just her own small part of the work and worrying less about the rest of the team. Sometimes, this is called “putting the blinders on” because you stop looking anywhere but straight ahead.

When this happens, Freya passes her work on to the next person in the team and plays no further part. Now, the team is just a group of people working separately, rather than a team working together.

When people start to work more as a team, they start to care about the impact they have on their team members. So they might not care about the work – but they might just start caring about the team instead. This can counteract some of the lost motivation.

Tip: Are your team members like Freya? Sounds like a motivation problem…  and Thoughtful Leader can help. Check out the Motivating Your Team Audiobook, for tools and techniques to get the best out of your team members. Don’t settle for a lazy, disinterested team… try the audiobook today.

3. When Your Top Performers Have Lost Motivation, Improve Process and Accountability So There Are Consequences

You can address many motivation problems by introducing process and accountability. People need to know that as a team, there are consequences for poor outcomes. And as a team, there are rewards for great outcomes, too.

People need to feel invested in the work of the team and to hold each other accountable. Having well understood processes helps to stop things from unexpectedly going wrong and reduces variation in the work that your team produces.

Read more about team process here: Why You Need to Understand Your Team Process.

Otherwise you will find yourself with individuals who do “just enough”. They’ll do the bare minimum work before handing it off to others in the team. If everyone in your team is doing “just enough”, you aren’t likely to get a very good outcome.

To learn more about the importance of consequences in the workplace, read this post: Why Leaders Must Drive Consequences in the Workplace.

When talented people have lost motivation, there is a problem. They have learned that even when they try hard in their current environment, they don’t achieve any more than if they put in minimal effort.

When your team members have lost motivation, they are less invested in the outcomes. So it’s important that you learn how to turn the ship around.

Have your top performers ever lost motivation? What did you do? Tell your stories in the comments below!

Alternatively, if you would like to ask a question or need some help, you can send me a private message through my contact page.