by Nellie Akalp
Republished from Forbes, September 23, 2018
For businesses to succeed in this competitive world, they need to strive for excellence—and that begins with their leadership.
As a business owner and boss, I have found that you can’t expect stellar performance from employees if you hold yourself to a different standard. That sends mixed messages and hurts morale. But I also realize it’s not always easy to aim high and put forth your best effort in every waking moment. There is no shortage of obstacles that could impede your ability to focus and do your job with optimal prowess:
- Too much to do and not enough time to do it
- A bad night’s sleep
- A head cold
- A difficult client
- A disagreement with your significant other
Or maybe you’re feeling uninspired and unmotivated to do more than the bare minimum to get by. That’s a dangerous mindset to have (and we’ve all been there, even if only for a fleeting moment)! It can not only affect the quality of your work, but it could also spark a chain reaction of minimal effort across your team.
Fortunately, there are ways to rise above apathy and lack of motivation before they have a chance to embed themselves in your company culture.
1. Do a “gratitude check” every morning upon rising
As soon as your feet hit the floor after your wake-up alarm sounds, reflect on three to five things that you’re grateful for. Whether you think about the same things every morning or recognize different people or aspects of your life, you’ll start your day on a note of positivity—and positivity can have a profound impact on the workplace.
According to Elizabeth Cabrera, an expert in industrial/organizational psychology, “Research shows that the more positive emotions people experience, the more successful they are. Positive employees make better decisions, are more creative, more productive, more resilient, and have better interpersonal skills.”
So, as you bring your positive attitude to work each day and generate that energy through your office, you and your entire team will be poised to perform to your potential.
2. Delegate more
Not only will this help you prevent overloading your plate of responsibilities, but it will also provide your employees with professional development opportunities. With less for you to stress over, you’ll be better able to focus on—and excel at—what remains on your to-do list. And your team members will have the chance to learn new skills or hone existing ones (like using software to run reports or running meetings).
However, first make sure your employees have the interest and capacity to take on what you plan to delegate to them. You may need to adjust their roles to avoid overwhelming them.
3. Solve problems together
Don’t try to be a hero when you encounter tough issues. Rather than going it alone to find solutions, consider involving your employees to determine how to resolve problems. Whether it’s figuring out how to generate more qualified leads during a sales slump, improving internal company communications, or overcoming some other challenge, engaging employees in problem-solving will show them they’re valued. It’s a way to not only boost team morale but also to find fixes you may have never thought of on your own.
4. Cut yourself some slack—and take action to get back on track
Motivation waxes and wanes. There’s no way to avoid that. When yours is depleted, don’t be too hard on yourself. It happens to all of us from time to time.
Instead, consider what might turn things around and put you back on the path of productivity. Could a few hours out of the office to clear your head make a difference? Would eating breakfast, rather than skipping it, give you more energy? You might find yourself surprised at how much little changes can make a tremendous difference in your attitude and aptitude as a leader.
Likewise, when you notice that employees are simply going through the motions at work, find ways to re-engage them.
Lead by example with a motivated mindset
“Leading by example” may sound clichéd; however, it is a mantra I believe every entrepreneur should take to heart. A can-do company culture starts with you. If you want your business to be one that exudes integrity, self-discipline, positivity, and enthusiasm for doing exceptional work, live and lead with those virtues as your priorities every day.