How to Maintain Motivation While Doing More With Less

how to maintain motivation while doing more with lessAs a leader, you may find there are times when you lack the staff necessary to reach a goal, the time needed to get it done, or the money required to pay for it. Whether the goal is very specific, such as completing a project, or more general, such as sustaining performance levels, it can be tough to maintain motivation for the goal when faced with doing more with less. So what can you do to build and maintain that critical sense of drive for yourself and your team? Before you do anything else, focus on controlling what you can: your attitude. With the right mindset, you can better appreciate what you have versus fretting over what you do not. Ultimately, this will also help you remain open to the innovative solutions and little changes that, over time, can help drive greater transitions that will more quickly move you away from where you and your team are and closer to your goal.

Here are three ways to maintain motivation while doing more with less:

  1. Shift your perspective. While it may be quite true that you lack certain resources that could accelerate your success, you always have the power to choose your thoughts, swapping out negative, “victim-like” ones that don’t serve a great purpose for positive, helpful ones that do. So if you’re thinking or speaking some version of “I can’t do it because…”, note it, but then ask: “What can I do to control my situation?” What you’ll like is that, in spite of great struggle or strife, you can control your thoughts. Get into a habit of recognizing and replacing those negative internal and external conversations with positive, productive ones and you will have a more fulfilling outlook on life and work. This will not only help with your own motivation and drive but also attract people, such as your team members, and inspire them to follow your lead.

  2. Celebrate small steps. Motivating yourself and others, particularly amid stressful situations or a lack of a vital resource, can be a challenge. But you can motivate people in small, yet meaningful ways, doing things like “catching someone doing good” and recognizing individuals even when they make a small step toward a goal. Overlook these opportunities, and you’ll likely find people are less motivated and excited about whatever they’re trying to achieve. Capitalize on them, however, and you’ll discover that these little tokens of recognition can add up and have a compound effect, boosting morale, performance and productivity while driving the results you want and need.

  3. Cultivate curiosity. Ask why things are being done certain ways if you’re not sure. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo in asking “Why?” and also by posing another driving question—What if?—as in, what if we did it differently, thought about things in a fresh light or just tried something out of the ordinary? As we talk about in MAP’s recent book, “The Disciplined Leader,” curiosity is a strategy for discovering creative, new solutions, doing business in unique ways, and getting greater results. The key is to be genuine in your approach. Start by practicing an inquisitive communication style with your coworkers and frontline subordinates over the next 30 days. Pay attention to how it impacts them, their body language, engagement, openness, and so on. Let this practice be a catalyst for inspiring conversations and sparking imagination and igniting newfound motivation to think outside the box to achieve and succeed in spite of ongoing challenges, like doing more with less. Then if you find it is working little miracles in terms of empowering your people’s mindset and motivation, don’t stop!

When it comes to doing more with less, what’s the toughest thing (time, people or money) for you to manage without—and why?

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