No one motivates me in my company

How do I keep my fellow co-workers highly motivated?

If one could achieve high motivation levels through salary increases, higher commissions, easy to achieve bonuses and many countless fringe benefits, getting as a result better productivity outputs and higher return on investment, outweighing investments done, who in their right mind would not be keen to follow this path?

There are always exceptions which I am not considering, such as some small departments in medium and large companies or small businesses with a few employees who “never work“, doing what they do with pleasure, and in these cases, whether they are between four walls in the so-called office, in a garage or Co working space, at home or at a coffee table, working is not working, rather something useful with which they keep themselves busy getting great pleasure out of it.

The question so many often repeated to us is:

– What should I do to motivate my co-workers?

This type of question reveals in itself another concern: "my employees are not motivated". If the question is rephrased what many really want an answer to is:

– What do I have to do to motivate those who are not motivated?

Is it possible for me to motivate someone who is not motivated? Someone that does not find in himself the driving motivational force that leads to the execution of the assigned tasks with rigor, commitment, dedication?

Or is it the case that all these motivation talk is nothing else than a myth, and, in fact, the decision to stay or not to stay motivated lies only and exclusively, at work or in any other area of life, on myself?

How is someone able to motivate those who think they are not paid enough to produce as much as they are asked for?

How will someone motivates those who have lost interest as a result of not having received any salary upgrade for a long period of time? This in spite of the company they work for having managed to keep their job place?What can be done to help someone staying motivated and focused on going for the achievement of established goals?

What can be done to help someone to face the fear of trying different ways, other avenues that may take that person from where he is now to where he wants to be, understanding that it will never be the same as before, hence a completely different and potentially a better place to be than the previous one?

How will I motivate someone who believes he is just a number? Someone who is convinced that those around him, professional peers, do not try hard enough and do not want to try harder because they are of the opinion that the company does not deserve it? And for this reason that individual does not do it as well.

How to motivate someone who thinks that is not recognized and that his superiors are much more demanding with him than with others, therefore it is not worth to work harder as nothing he does will be recognized?

… And so on.

What really motivates employees?

The salary and the conditions being offered?

– The work in itself?

– Success?

– Status?

– Promotion opportunities?

– The value they help to create for the company they work for?

– Being respected and recognized?

– Realizing that what they produce is properly valued?

– Being constantly challenged to overcome their limits?

– Their contributions at valuing the work of those around them?

– Their direct input towards wealth creation, company and country wise?

– Feeling good about value given to their suggestions?

– Participating in the discussions of company´s strategic decisions?

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To motivate is about to challenge, it is about rigor and seriousness, a sense of justice, recognition at the right time and place. Motivation is about discipline, clear objectives, focus on fulfilling them, and actually achieving them. The act of motivating is stimulating, interesting, provocative, demanding. And only those who feel at ease in this “territory” will be receptive to this approach, a clear, unambiguous, transparent approach.

If what motivates me is united with the principles, values and philosophy of those with whom I share my day to day work; if I feel constantly challenged and that is a stimulus for me; if besides everything else I am able to participate in the company´s day to day business and are respected for it; if there is a high level of demand but also recognition; if discipline creates a healthy and challenging work environment… Then the first step towards being motivated is done. The alternatives are simple: If I feel fine with it, I go for the challenge, fight for it! if I do not feel comfortable with it, then it is time to give up.

Overcoming today´s difficulties that affect countries and companies, successfully facing the challenges of growth, can only be achieved if the “whole” is motivated around the achievement of common goals, realizing that every single unit of this whole, each part of it is responsible for the task in hand. The entrepreneurship and commitment efforts of all will be greater than the sum of the parts.

The changes that took place in recent years, both in “internal customers” as well as “external customers“, are irreversible and these changes need, without a doubt, a new leadership able to involve all employees, keeping them fully focused on what they can do to improve and not in finding excuses to justify lack of initiative or poor results. We all need teams that are fully motivated, fully aware that the challenges of the future will only be overcome with total commitment in the present.

But we do also need, particularly in Portugal, less restrictive labor laws. Labor laws that are more entrepreneurial, friendly, that offer more agile and faster actions to remove those in teams that “kill time” at work and produce nothing. Maybe a different approach would lead to changes more rapidly in order to guarantee survival in a “new world and a new reality

As far as I am concerned, it is up to me to decide! If I am not feeling motivated anymore, if I lose that fuel, that inspiration, that power that gets up with me every morning and follows me like a shadow, everywhere I go, any place where I always feel realized producing and making things happen, then it is my decision to change! It is time to start the searching process for a better place where I will find self-realization. There is nothing less motivating than resigning internally and then force myself to do what I do not enjoy doing.

If I´m not motivated to do what I do, why do I continue to bother me going every single day to where I do not feel well? So the decision is mine and there is no law requiring me to continue to feel unmotivated where I am, where I spend most of the days of my life. It is better to start the process of change now, rather than later, because time goes by too quickly and tomorrow may be too late.

On the side of responsible leaders and managers, entrepreneurs in micro, small and medium enterprises, those that enjoy what they do and need People living intensely as they do, the projects and tasks they are dedicated to, need sometimes to take the initiative, helping those who are no longer happy working in their teams with the only left option which is, sometimes, to show them the exit door, exactly the same door they came in the first time they joined the company: “If you do not feel well doing what you do, then it is time for you to look for an alternative. I am available to support you in that process. We’ve tested several solutions already and nothing seems to have a positive impact on your attitude and behavior. I do not believe anymore this is the place where you will realize yourself professionally. We, at our company, need people who love what they do, who get pleasure out of what they do and for whom there is no challenge that is not motivating“.

Tough? Very often, there is no other alternative than helping someone taking the action they need to take. Fear of change is indeed emotionally paralyzing and people are too afraid to try, remaining unhappy all the days of their life, if they do not get needed thrust.

By José Ferreira Duarte

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)