Figuring out how to motivate your employees is hard enough - try doing it when you're feeling down!
As a leader, sometimes it feels like people expect you to be "on" all the time - that's because they DO expect it. Like anyone else, though, you can have your ups and downs, your moments of doubt, and can even get frustrated or burnt out. This makes it so much harder to "rally the troops" and to put on a happy face as you stare down challenges with your team.
So how do you motivate your employees when your OWN morale is waning? Here are five tips...
1. Clear your head:
Something's bothering you. Maybe it's a tough meeting with a client, a reprimand from your manager, or something that happened at home. Whatever it is, you need to put it aside for a while. Break out of your routine for a bit - go take a walk, meditate, or pray. Any of these is likely to help pull you out of your slump at least for a while
Alternately, find someone you trust, ideally an established mentor, and talk through what's bothering you. Even if it feels petty or small, talking it through will put the event further behind you and you'll likely also get some advice or perspective that will help you figure out how to motivate yourself.
2. Get some rest:
This may not be the right day to rally your department and get them fired up about the new strategy. If you're feeling run down or uninspired, they'll pick up on that and you'll be less effective. Your team will be there tomorrow and, in all likelihood, you can wait until tomorrow to get them jazzed.
3. Write your script:
A strange thing happens to your language when you're demotivated - you choose adjectives that signal your mood. A new program that "rocks" on a normal day might be described as "pretty good" when you're run down. An employee who did a "fantastic job" (or even "fantabulous!") might only get credit for "good work."
Because of this, it's a good idea to write out what you're going to say, at least in broad strokes. This makes your language choices very deliberate and you can ensure that you're giving a properly calibrated talk.
4. Act the part:
When a good sales person calls you, you can bet that they're smiling. They know that the link between the mind and body is strong and a smile will change how you sound and may even influence your disposition. In the same way, "capturing the room" by speaking loudly at the beginning of a presentation can make you feel more confident.
Hiding your feelings is never a good thing, but when you're up there in front of your people, put on a smile and speak forcefully. You may feel the clouds lifting more quickly than you expected.
5. Use props to complete the scene:
If you're worried that your words, or the tone of your words, will betray your sour mood then use props to help you send the message. A funny slide in your presentation, inspiring photos related to the new project, or employee awards can all help to reinforce the tone you're hoping to convey.