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There’s not much worse than a constant drag on the team and it’s the ones dragging the team down that are usually labeled difficult.
How do you manage to motivate them or move them out? There are three somewhat simple ways, but their delivery must be consistent. I will also share a warning here. If this is an old problem that has lagged on and on, then skip the first two methods and use only the third. You ready?
Method 1: Clearly and Fairly Describe What You Need
If a team member brings his bad attitude to work and is showing signs of a slow down or setting work aside, notice it quickly and address it even faster. When you notice it, schedule time to talk with him and ask if all is okay. If it is or nothing you can address is mentioned, then proceed to clearly and fairly describe what you need from him in the way of change or improvement. In other words, this is not an emotional conversation in which you are frustrated this is a verbal notice to the team member that things need to change and a change has been noticed.
Method 2: Reward Baby Steps
If the employee has hurt feelings or feels undervalued, this can cause a lack of motivation. You may not be able to resolve the feelings, but you can begin to notice efforts toward improvement. Even if these are the tiniest of steps, make mention of your gratitude in the way that he would appreciate. Use a post note on a report, a high five in the hall or even a public period of praise if appropriate for him and the team. Tiny reinforcements create larger opportunities to reinforce and praise more. People do what they get paid attention to for doing
Method 3: Deliver a Significant Consequence
If the lack of motivation persists and you’ve attempted the first two methods, then it’s time to have a more serious sit down conversation about what will happen if the lack of performance continues. This is perhaps the least favorite task of most leaders and because of that, it can come out in the heat of a frustrated moment. Avoid that temptation. Think through what you want and think through what will have to happen if the lack of motivation continues and then clearly and calmly share this news with the team member. Maybe you’ll have to remove him from his favorite project or reduce his hours or something else of importance. Then give a timeline. If the performance does NOT improve and motivation fails to increase, you must deliver the consequence for any impact to take place. Failure to utilize this method will result in a continuation of the behavior and a much more difficult time of EVER motivating this team member again.
Your leadership is only as strong as the members of the team you have the privilege of leading. Be fair, calm, and consistent and of course contagious in your efforts and chances are your difficulty in motivating folks will disappear!
Have a great Monday, an even better week and of course, stay contagious!
Monica Wofford is a leadership development expert and the author of the recently released book Make Difficult People Disappear, available on Amazon and at this link. To learn more, contact Monica directly at Monica@contagiouscompanies.com.