Self Motivation-Sinking Ship or Cruising Nicely?


Self -Motivation-Bobbing Along Buoyantly or Aboard a Sinking Ship?

Hello there, how are you? How are things in your world? Finding anything difficult or challenging right now? Are you getting along quite well and feel OK in yourself? What really gets you out of bed in the morning?

Lots of questions there, all directed at you dear Reader. It is important to be asked these questions from time to time, and also to ask them of ourselves too. Just to check in and make sure all is tickety boo.

What does ‘Fine’ mean?

Not what it looks like that is for sure. Some people when asked these questions simply answer by saying “everything is fine, thanks”, this little four letter word has really only two meanings a positive and more often than not, a veiled negative; and as anyone in a relationship will tell you, ‘fine’ can actually mean the polar opposite, and woe betide the receiver of the ‘fine’ who ignores it. The same applies to management.

Quite often, people can feel low and demoralised. It happens. When the feeling is prolonged then the alarm bells start going off. People can feel this way for many different reasons. Perhaps they have personal issues going on in their lives that are directly affecting their approach to work. Quite often this is because work will seem to be a lower priority to them than the actual problem. An example would be a sick relative or child, in the grand scheme of things, it is only natural that work motivation will suffer.

In other reasons, the work itself can be the issue for feeling demoralised and demotivated. This can be split out further into two additional areas.

1-    The employees own work, job and/or relationship with job or manger

2-    The employer’s actions having an effect on the employee through a direct or indirect way.

In the first scenario, if an employee feels that they are not really going anywhere, have no clear objectives set for them or have had a breakdown in the relationship with their manager then this is easily rectified and can be rescued quickly. Tackling the issues head on is really the best and most robust way forward. A constructive conversation with cards on the table can be really very refreshing, and often the simple act of reaching out to an employee can make all the difference, as long as you can get through and anticipate the ‘fine’ that they might throw into the conversation. It is important for the individual to feel listened to, and to have had the chance to explain not only how they feel, but also how they believe the situation can be moved forward. As a manager you will get greater buy in from a person if they have come up with or agreed genuinely to an outcome.

In the second scenario, the actions of the employer or the organisation can have a direct effect on the employee and this can be polluting to the whole team and not isolated to one individual. An example of this would be a restructure. When this happens there can be radical changes brought in, that the employees have little or no control over. However in their minds, because it can affect them, they feel the need to express opinions, make judgements and often create self fulfilling prophecies for themselves that actually make no sense at all and serve only to create more unhappiness and demotivation. In these cases, some employees choose to leave, whilst others just stew! A good manager will, upon hearing of big changes, need to go into ‘damage control’ and in some cases ‘intensive care’ mode to their management style. It will be important for them to be approachable and stimulate the team to talk openly about their concerns and the way they feel about the situation. By doing this, the manager can ‘cap off’ quite quickly any rumours or gossip that can often get out of control. To be clear, in situations like this, managers need to be aware that ‘it won’t just go away’, it needs to be handled, and in a way that demonstrates empathy and strength.

What if it is the manager who is demotivated?

When a manager feels demoralised or demotivated, they can in a number of cases wear it like badge. They become irritated, irrational and moody and staff feel like they cannot approach the manager, and so choose to believe something is wrong and that they have done something to cause this.

Managers who experiences this need to be more aware of the effect they can have on their team, and need to wear ‘masks’ to protect their team, however difficult that may be. By not showing this professional courtesy (also known ‘emotional intelligence’) can open them up to criticism from their own manager, and can result in loss of face or respect from their team.

Within a business, managers should be able to talk to each other when concerns arise, and some of the best organisations have coaches and mentors in place for their managers so that a sounding board is available when things get tough or when motivation slips. This has a huge benefit to the team as they rarely get impacted with the effects, and to the manager, they keep face. In smaller companies a simple peer buddy system can have the same benefits.

What Motivated People Do?

When people who are naturally very motivated are faced with feelings of demotivation, they ask themselves why they enjoy what they do, and remind themselves of the successes they have achieved. It is a good idea to keep an email folder of great feedback, so that you have real evidence in front of you. Use social media to remind yourself further, especially LinkedIn and the ‘recommendation’ function. It is a real ‘go to’ place for me, for sure.

If you are truly demotivated or demoralised, then this can lead to being unhappy, when people are unhappy then things have to change. Life is too short to be in a job or relationship that makes you unhappy. Make changes for yourself in ways that can make a difference to the way you feel. There are people, who like to be miserable, and misery loves company, just try not get too acquainted. We make our own way in this world, in even the smallest of ways; through informed choices, making mistakes and learning from them, and allowing other people to influence us. So make a conscious effort to be aware of things you have control over and those you don’t and never forget, when it comes to motivation, opportunities and choices, don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim on out to it.

This blog is is part of the training journey I offer in areas of Assertiveness and Management skills. Please do get in touch if you would like to find out more about using my services by visiting or contacting Simon Hares at

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