- Loss of purpose: Consider the schoolwork you dreaded most: those tedious worksheets that seemed to serve no purpose other than filling time. As a student, you just tried to get them over with. Similarly, if team members no longer believe in the company mission, they may stop caring about the quality of their work. Evaluate recent changes in your organization’s direction or policies, and ask yourself if your team has become detached from the vision.
- Loss of ownership: Research shows that motivation in the classroom can be linked to a sense of autonomy. Young adults perform best when they feel they have some control over their duties and goals. This also applies to the freedom to suggest shifts and improvements in the workplace.
- Personal problems: When a student’s grades suffer, it can indicate problems outside of school. Likewise, as adults, it’s unrealistic to assume our personal lives have no impact on our professional performance. Life and work don’t fit neatly into separate categories. Develop a rapport with your team so they feel comfortable sharing potential health or family issues with you.
- Create a timeline: People are unlikely to meet indistinct goals with vague target dates. Concrete goals with firm deadlines promote a sense of productive urgency, which establishes accountability among team members.
- Make progress visible: A visual depiction of goals on a chart or whiteboard helps people monitor their progress. Moreover, viewing this progress each day provides positive feelings of accomplishment and leads to an increase in the quantity and quality of work completed. This sense of progress ultimately fuels pursuit of the next goal.
Provide Authentic Feedback
- Acknowledge progress: Recognizing when your team has reached significant milestones will undoubtedly keep individuals performing at their best. Acknowledgment not only builds confidence in struggling students but also signals to team members that you notice and appreciate their hard work.
- Give meaningful praise: Don’t offer insincere praise just for the sake of encouragement. You should, however, praise individuals for devoting extra care to a project. Students and adults sense when someone is genuine. Authenticity strengthens the relationship between you and your team.
- Reward accomplishments: Reward hard work to show your team members you value them and appreciate their effort. This can include monetary rewards, time off, or special recognition. Note that this process is different from simply throwing money at unmotivated team members—you’re recognizing behavior you want to continue.