Motivation is an odd thing. A few weeks ago my two step children competed in Tough Mudder. This is a half marathon, where contestants have to crawl through thick, stinking mud, climb over obstacles, dodge rib breaking poles and even get electric shocks. Bizarrely, they were not being punished for doing some terrible crime. They voluntarily paid good money for the privilege and afterwards talked about how great it was and how motivated they felt. Why? In my view, it’s about having a stretching yet attainable goal and then being with a group of people who are in it together to achieve it. Team leaders should take note. If someone banged their fist on the table and demanded that they do it, they would have found every excuse under the sun to avoid it. They did it because the marketing promotions told them it was tough. So tough that if they finished it they would be regarded as elite. Plus there were other people in it together. It wasn’t going to be done under the cover of darkness on their own. It was a shared experience, albeit shared physical suffering. The motivation came from inside themselves as they visualised what it would mean to complete the challenge.
Good leadership starts with articulating a vision. Why does this team exist? Why would I want to be on the team? What are the team going to do and why does it matter? Even if it’s not a new team but an existing one, that seems to have lost their motivation, go back to the fundamental goals of why the team were established. Articulate even some answers to the key “team forming” stage, and you are well on the way to getting the team fired up and out of bed.