Are You On Fire… Or Burned Out? What Top Leaders Do to Stay Motivated at Work

It happens to all of us at some point: a slight dip in motivation, a troubling ripple that makes you question how eager you are to do your job, let alone excel in it. And yet, when you look around, there’s always someone on fire for their job. Someone who never seems to question, or doubt, either their performance – or their dedication.

So how do they do it? How do some leaders stay motivated and engaged at work while others fizzle and burnout before ever reaching their full potential? To find out, I surveyed ten leaders from the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry, asking them “what motivates you at work” and “what demotivates you”.

While I had expected to hear some varying answers, I was floored by the response.

Motivating People With… Other People

In answer to “What motivates you?”…

• 9 out of the 10 mentioned a particularly common theme, which had something to do with those they work with. The answers I got included “moving forward as a team”, “achieving as a team”, “helping my team”, “watching my team achieve success”, and “helping people achieve their best.”

This was a revelation. Before asking this question, I had assumed that the traditional motivators of promotion, increased responsibility, expanding skill sets, professional challenges and even monetary gain might have some weight. But the overwhelming responses indicated that other people were the real motivating factor for nine out of the ten leaders I polled.

But despite all of that motivation, there were times when these leaders could occasionally feel less than motivated. Here’s why:

Demotivating People With… Other People

In answer to “What demotivates you?” … not a single person mentioned being demotivated by the demands of their job, tasks, to-do lists or business conditions. Mirroring what motivated them, for this particular group of executives, it was ALL to do with people:

• Poor communication;
• Micro-managing;
• Naysayers;
• Office politics;
• Nit picking;
• Complaining;
• Negativity;
• Lack of understanding and appreciation;
• Lack of consideration for other team members;
• Making demands without taking time to listen…

So here’s what I learned from this simple survey:

If you’re looking for ways to stay motivated and engaged when you come to work every day, look no further than to those around you. And always be mindful that your actions have a direct impact on the motivation of those you work with.

Jo Miller

Jo Miller is a globally renowned authority on women’s leadership. She’s dedicated two decades to helping women advance into positions of influence by leveraging their leadership strengths. Based on her work with hundreds of thousands of women, she developed a pragmatic and powerful roadmap that guides women to become the leaders they aspire to be. Jo shares this proven process in her book Woman of Influence: 9 Steps to Build Your Brand, Establish Your Legacy, and Thrive (McGraw Hill, 2019.)

Jo is CEO of leadership development, consulting and research firm Be Leaderly. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.com and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

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