Be Motivated & Engaging at Work

A quick read designed to help you win the battle against work stress…

Un-Motivated Coworkers

Hepburn Coaching, Victoria Hepburn, Productivity, Business Coach, Resilience, Stress Management, Employee Motivation

We’ve all experienced a colleague who is not at all motivated at work. As a manufacturing engineer, it was my colleague we’ll call Edward.  Edward had been in his role for almost ten years and was clear on his role. But he was clearly “checked out.”  Often his reports were incorrect or late.

It was frustrating to work with Edward on time-sensitive projects. I could tell from all the muttering under his breath that he wasn’t happy either.  Resulting in just a coexisted state and kept bumping heads on report quality timelines.

I was not motivated to meet with Edward. Additionally, it was frustrating to talk to him. He gave the same excuses over and over. I had to spend hours doing last-minute updates and edits. I shared my frustration with my mentor. She gave me a priceless piece of advice disguised as a cliché. ‘Variety is the spice of life. How can you make your meetings go from bland to zesty?’

It stung my pride and spirit to know that I was part of the problem. Consequently sinking down into Edward’s frustrated feelings.  How empowering it was to know that even as a coworker, I could change things for the better. Without, of course, the need to change our giant global company’s objectives, policy or culture.

Hepburn Coaching, Victoria Hepburn, Productivity, Business Coach, Resilience, Stress Management, Work Life Balance, Employee Motivation, Growth, Strategy

Why People Lose Motivation & What Managers Can Do to Help

I learned the following from a Harvard Business Review article by author Daniel M. Cable,  “Why People Lose Motivation & What Managers Can Do to Help”.


– Humans are hardwired to check out when things get routine and boring.

– We are wasting our potential.

– Consequently, our brains shut down rather than informing us that we can do better things.

– Additionally, we are all designed to react that way.

– So as a leader it’s important to know how you can help your team pull through.

Hepburn Coaching, Victoria Hepburn, Coaching, Success, Resilience, Productivity, Busy Professionals

A Motivated Team Prevents Costly Productivity Losses:

  • Encourage them to play to their strengths
    • We all want to be valued for the unique skills and experience that we bring to our roles. The more you can reinforce the value of a worker’s skills and connect it back to their role in the larger organization. If you’re not sure what skills your coworkers have or value, have a conversation.  Share your skills and values. Then ask them to do the same.
  • Create opportunities to experiment
    • Now more than ever companies need to be agile and shift directions quickly. Research shows this in The Fundamentals of Organization Development. Employees have less anxiety, risk aversion, and change resistance when the firm frames change. Thus, innovation is shown as a chance to experiment and learn.
  • Help them personalize the purpose of the work
    • The research is clear Job performance effects, relational mechanisms, and boundary conditions. ( The more connected workers are to why their work matters, the better their results. Do you want more sales, increased work volume?  Communicate with your team how the organization’s value proposition is significant. Also how meaningful it is to their efforts. Over my career, sharing my personal “why” has forged bonds with clients, colleagues and business partners. My value proposition or “Why” is to use my knowledge and talents to support:
      1. The health of our communities.
      2. Global Prosperity.
    • Every business I’ve worked with shares this value and that unity strengthened me when the work got difficult.

Motivating Others – A  Win/Win Outcome

Over several months, I consciously decided to add some meaning and variety to our work. It was time to modernize our compliance process. Not expecting to change Edward. Just wanting to help myself and maybe him with our frustration. I asked Edward for his views on our compliance project update structure, meeting flow, reporting.  Then, I  invited him to brainstorm new ways of working that would lessen his burden and frustration.

Edward was less than responsive at first, maybe overwhelmed because no one ever asked for his feedback. (This I later learned.)  Therefore,  I also shared my “why,” my reason for being so passionate about our compliance work.  I explained the importance of our data gathering and reports.  How this ensured the best possible plant performance for:

  • Our Customers
  • Our company
  • Fellow Workers
  • The Surrounding Community

He bluntly agreed that our team had important responsibilities or we wouldn’t have jobs.

Over time, I  continued attempts to enroll others in my plans and incorporating their ideas. This resulted in getting buy-in from both Edward and senior leadership.  We “modernized workflows” and developed a new action item tracking system.  This resulted in colleagues remarking on how Edward got his “second wind”. How he’s not working in slow motion anymore.  Moreover, I  was less frustrated and felt like my work was moving forward easier than ever.  In conclusion,  a win/win outcome was achieved.

Hepburn Coaching, Victoria Hepburn, Coaching, Success, Resilience, Productivity, Busy Professionals

Victoria Hepburn is a certified business coach, author, podcast host, and speaker who happily shares the tools that transform lives – personally and professionally – in an ever-changing world.