Your team’s engagement can begin to falter quickly if you are not paying attention. They can become demotivated if what at first may have seemed like a sprint turns out to be a journey. Each repetitive task required to reach the end goal can become a bit mundane and sooner or later all focus is lost. Your role as a leader is to keep them on track, guide them, be there to support them, give your ideas, foster participation and remind them of the outcome.
4 Reasons a Team May Become Demotivated
- They see the team leader as demotivated
- They don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel
- They don’t feel appreciated
- They haven’t been given any guidance/direction
When a team sees the leader as demotivated, they too will begin to follow his/her path. As a leader, it is certainly possible that you too will begin to lose focus and become demotivated. This can easily happen when it feels like the workload has been taken away from you with a team that has been tasked with doing most of it. To recover, you have to get back in the game. Check in with the team often and make sure priorities are being addressed. Even though it may seem like it at times, you will never be too busy to take part. Your team still needs guidance and direction going forward.
There is a term that is often referenced in leadership circles “Delegate, but don’t abdicate”. Basically, this means to give power away, but do not let go of everything.
3 Warning Signs That Your Team is Losing Focus
- Work progress has slowed and deadlines are missed
- You are receiving more complaints about the project
- You are not seeing the usual amount of commitment
You should be paying attention to these three things that throw a red flag up about team members losing interest in participating. If you are not seeing the work being completed or if deadlines are missed, that is a good indicator that they are not interested in moving forward any longer.
When a team member comes to you with a complaint about the project, it could mean that they are looking for a way out. Do not immediately brush it off and tell them to get back at it. Your job is to hear them out and help to remind them that what “we” are doing is important and will benefit them in the long run.
You know how hard your team works because you have likely been through a lot with them. You should know their personality styles and what each member’s level of commitment usually is. When you see the usual amount of commitment slow, then it is time to step in and find out the root reason.
3 Ways to Keep Your Team Motivated
- Be there for them along the way
- Create an incentive for each member to strive for
As the leader you have got to keep your head in the game as well. If you lose focus yourself and drift off into abandonment, your team will surely lose motivation. Even if it seems like they have a good grip on the project, it is imperative that you check in often to verify the progress. This also shows them that you still care about the vision as much as you have preached it.
The members of a team are usually naturally competitive. In the beginning it is a good idea to give them an incentive, aside from the main goal, to shoot for. This gives them something to reach for along the way. Avoiding this step is kind of like giving them a ladder with a few missing rungs. Once they start climbing and see that they can’t make the jump, they won’t. Don’t give them a ladder with missing rungs.
I can not stress appreciation and recognition enough. This should be done publicly, in front of everyone and often. A good way to show that you appreciate the work being done is to encourage feedback on the progress and the way forward.
Don’t wait for the “just the right time” to show appreciation, because the right time is now.
And it doesn’t always have to be extravagant, but it does have to be sincere. A simple public announcement of achievement or even the occassional hand-written thank you note is all that may be needed to keep those gears moving.
What are some other reasons you have noticed that your team has lost motivation? What have you done to keep them in focus?