Motivating or demotivating

Start thinking of yourself as a leader of motivation.

If you’re committed to keeping your own quality of motivation in great shape, you should also see this as you being a role model for motivation for everyone around you.

If you’re a consistently positive influence on motivation by definition you’ll become a leader of the motivational climate for everyone you work with.


Reading time: 4 minutes

What will it do?

Use this tool to test and choose your attitude, your role, your responsibility and your behaviour when it comes to other’s motivation. Use the tool as a stimulus for action.

The tool recommends you get some feedback on your impact on others. This will take a little effort but the feedback will be valuable. The rest of the tool takes 10 minutes to complete to come up with some useful actions for you.

Use the tool when you want to make a positive difference to the motivation of those around you. You can then redo the feedback sometime later to see the impact you’ve had.

To start with it will take you 15 – 20 minutes to complete. Progress reviews can be carried out ideally weekly or fortnightly (minimum quick 10 minute reviews are fine) or at least monthly (a slightly longer, say 20 minute review, by you or with a manager/coach).

Three steps to take

Get focused on the things that will make the most impact for you

1. Get some feedback

Have a conversation with some of your colleagues about how you influence their motivation. Specifically ask them for examples of how things you do or say:

  • Increase a sense of Control. Decrease a sense of Control
  • Increase Confidence. Decrease Confidence
  • Increase a sense of Connectedness. Decrease a sense of Connectedness

2. Identify what to work on

After you’ve had your conversations, you’ll have an idea of the consistent messages that are coming out. Use the table below to identify the most important things you can work on that will have most impact for everyone, so you’re thinking about building Control, Confidence of Connectedness together. The table below has ideas to get you started, but don’t be limited by these.

Increase a sense of control Increase a sense of confidence Increase a sense of connectedness
Stop talking about things I and we can’t control Tell others the strengths you see in them – what they’re good at Start to deliberately build good working relationships grounded on connectedness
Start to choose your attitude and role model doing this Demonstrate your trust in others by showing you trust them Deliberately use language like we, us, our
If people are moaning start talking about how they and you can choose to respond Share your own belief and confidence and where that comes from Talk about the purpose of your team – what unites you together
Encourage others to focus on things that they can control, like their effort, their attitude and what they do next Acknowledge others successes including what they did to be successful Celebrate teamwork by recognising it in some way (doesn’t have to be a financial reward!)
Help people to see why their contribution is important to the team and organisation

3. Next steps

Pick up to three things to focus on over the next 4 weeks and set yourself a challenge of seeing how well you can stay focused on leading with them. Let everyone know what you’re choosing to focus on and ask them to be ready to get value out of the moments when you’ll be able to fuel the motivation together.

Your plan

Get a plan Stan. This is about getting going. The basics you need to have in your plan are set out below.

Plan basics

  1. What are you going to do? This bit is easy – it’s the 3 things you listed above.

    My actions:

  2. When are you going to do these things? You don’t have to be great to get going, but you better get going if you want to be great.

    My start date:

  3. How often will you be doing them? Getting great has a lot to do with making things a habit.

    Check-in frequency and dates:

Get serious

The difference between having a plan and making it work is about action. So get this in your diary now. Tell the people who need to know so that they can support you and won’t just think you’re being weird. Do it now.

Remember, it’s progress not perfection. You’re looking for gradual improvement, not for Rome to be built in a day.