Team Motivation Report

Part I: Positive Affect at Work

Positive Affect at Work is a term that describes your feelings about your job. The higher your Positive Affect, the more you enjoy your work and experience good feelings about it.

Your work doesn’t make you ecstatic with joy at every moment, but you do enjoy it much of the time. You have adequate energy to do your job, and you find your days satisfying and engaging. These feelings put you in the “Goldilocks Zone” for motivation and proactive behavior.

People with more extreme levels of happiness and energy at work tend to experience lowered motivation because they’re either hopelessly unhappy in their job or they’re so content they feel no urgency to push themselves or improve. You probably contribute quite a bit to your team, since you enjoy your work and feel motivated to achieve even more.

What about your team?

Your team seems to love its work and generally feels happy to do it. This is good news. However, such high Positive Affect does make complacency more likely to set in. Your team may feel little need to innovate or improve. It may seem counterintuitive, but pushing your team beyond its collective comfort zone is a good way to help keep the good times rolling over the long term.

Some tips for you as the team leader:

  • Don’t change just for change’s sake. But don’t assume these scores will remain static, either. People’s feelings toward work can (and do) evolve over time.
  • It’s also possible this score was captured at a moment in time that isn’t necessarily typical for your team. Did something happen lately that may have temporarily boosted the general mood? If so, start planning a strategy to maintain the positive vibes when the situation reverts to the mean – or even gets quite challenging.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Be sure you understand exactly what people appreciate most about the job, and what triggers the mood to go south. It’s a good idea to meet with individual team members regularly. Don’t wait for exit interviews to learn about issues before they can be resolved. You can ask questions such as:

    • “If you could change one thing about your job, team, or organization, what would it be?”
    • “What are some skills you possess that we may be underutilizing?”
    • “What would the perfect day at work look like for you?”
    • “Are there any tasks or assignments you are excited about or enjoy?”

Part II: Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation

Your team is primarily motivated by competition and rewards, like recognition and financial compensation. You probably thrive in a corporate environment where there are clear winners and losers, with teams competing internally and with one another to produce the best results. Your team will do well when there are obvious rewards tied to its performance. This could mean monetary bonuses, promotions, or increased appreciation and status. External motivation is particularly effective when teams must take on undesirable tasks.

As long as there are ample external rewards, your team will probably continue to perform. However, if money becomes tighter and those rewards diminish, this could be devastating to the team’s performance – and even to its continued viability. Research indicates that all things being equal, no amount of external motivation can compensate for lack of internal motivation.

Some tips for you as the team leader:

  • More extrinsically motivated teams tend to lack the enthusiasm of intrinsically motivated teams. They also require a steady stream of rewards to maintain motivation. This may all be fine when times are good, but it may not be sustainable over the long term.
  • To boost performance and help maintain team morale through tougher times with fewer extrinsic rewards, try to cultivate higher levels of intrinsic motivation. The key is to help team members feel personally invested in the work and its results. Discuss the deeper meanings behind tasks, explain their impact, and be willing to adjust the work in response to what team members tell you is important to them.
  • Consider that intrinsic motivation is hard to build if your efforts seem hypocritical or self-serving. Asking your team to make sacrifices while they see those above them reaping more obvious rewards is a sure way to breed cynicism and distrust.

Part III: Ikigai

Ikigai is a Japanese term meaning “a reason for being” and is used to describe a four-part theory for living your best life. Achieving ikigai involves combining what you love (Love), what you’re good at (Ability), what the world needs (Usefulness), and what you can be paid for (Compensation).

You feel highly competent at your job and receive adequate compensation. However, you don’t have much intrinsic motivation in the form of passion for the work or belief in its positive impact.

You may have started out in this job feeling more motivated by those other factors. But perhaps as your skill level has improved with time, stagnation set in, and the other motivators dwindled. Alternatively, this job may simply be fairly boring and unexciting. Regardless, your skills will most likely make you a valuable member of the team. Your supervisors and coworkers may recognize your situation and worry you’ll move on if a more inspiring opportunity becomes available.

What about your team?

While your team has definite room for improvement in other areas, you all do seem to love your work. The good news is that positive attitude and morale are two of the most important features of a workplace. They can motivate people to develop their abilities and invest in the organization to strengthen its positive impact. But complacency is also a risk. To make sure your team can keep doing the work they love, it’s important they keep striving for improvement.

Some tips for you as the team leader:

  • There are clearly aspects of your work that team members find appealing. But it’s important to discover and address what isn’t working. The act of publicly recognizing, validating, and discussing these issues can be helpful in and of itself. The Team Motivation workshop can be your first opportunity to start this conversation. As always, it’s important to listen carefully and respectfully and seek to understand the source of your team’s feelings and opinions, even those you disagree with.
  • Consider offering ways for team members to improve their skills or at least to feel more confident in the skills they have. Completing the workshops associated with this team tool is an important start which will give the team a boost of added self-awareness. Beyond that, you can fund and encourage opportunities for professional development both inside and outside the workplace. Try scheduling days when the group gets together to work on a specific skill set.
  • Don’t be afraid to try a good old-fashioned pep talk. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a formal speech. Just let the team know exactly how much you believe they can achieve and what that means for the bigger picture. Be authentic. Show you understand the reasons things have come to this point and that you are committed to resolving them – within your ability, of course.

Part IV: Current Feelings

Feeling of Anxiety

Manageable levels of anxiety can actually be beneficial to motivation. They can drive someone to strive for more without interfering with their abilities or causing too much emotional distress. High levels of anxiety are a different story. They can make it harder to think and function during immediate work tasks and can lead to feelings of hopelessness and futility that decrease motivation.

If your anxiety levels have been rising or elevated for some time, your coworkers may have noticed changes in your performance and motivation. If it’s possible, consider discussing your feelings with a trusted coworker or supervisor. They can understand the reasons behind your lowered motivation and help you develop strategies to avoid or alleviate the source(s) of your anxiety.

Your team has a high level of anxiety. This probably isn’t news to anyone, though it’s possible that team culture frames anxiety as a normal or even necessary aspect of the work. While some anxious moments may be inevitable, an atmosphere that ignores (or even fosters) chronic anxiety will certainly have a negative impact on the team.

Some tips for you as the team leader:

  • Take an open, honest look at your team’s work, communication, environment, and at your own leadership style. What are the causes of your team’s anxiety? While one or two people could be more prone to anxiety, it’s unlikely this explains your team’s score.
  • You may want to ask an outsider to observe and evaluate your team. They can provide a much-needed perspective.
  • If you feel anxious yourself, ask what causes it. This can be a starting point for conversations with your team about your feelings and theirs.
  • If your work is inherently high-stress, try implementing and encouraging de-stressing techniques such as meditation, taking breaks, and making opportunities to exercise and get outside in nature. While it’s better to remove the impetus for anxiety in the first place, developing better coping techniques for your team will help alleviate anxiety in times when it’s inevitable or already happening.

Work/Life Imbalance

It’s quite common for people to spend more time on the job than they would like, but if you feel your job is seriously interfering with your life priorities – like family or hobbies that give you a sense of fulfillment and meaning – then this can have a serious impact on your motivation at work.

After all, for most of us, the point of a job is that it allows us to live our lives the way we want and do the things we're most passionate about. If work seems to be blocking you from doing what you love, it’s natural for your motivation on the job to decline. If you can’t negotiate a way to spend less time and energy on your current job, or at least shift things around to a more acceptable schedule, then you’ll probably struggle to regain your motivation levels.

There seems to be a systemic imbalance in your team’s work demands. Most members of your team feel their work takes too much of their time and impacts their well-being. This is an important red flag because prolonged overwork can strain even the most motivated team.

Some tips for you as the team leader:

  • Use group and individual conversations to try and identify a common set of complaints. While it could be a relatively straightforward problem, there may be complicating factors, such as bureaucracy, confusion, or disorganization at the personal or organizational level.
  • If possible, identify “choke points” where a few changes could allow everyone to complete their jobs more quickly.
  • Encourage team members to detach from work when they are not “on the clock.” Don’t expect them to answer email in their free time. Make a rule against sending requests outside work hours and follow it yourself. Surprisingly often, employees may not know what the norm should be and do extra work at times when it isn’t necessary.

Habituation to the Job

Your job seems to offer enough challenge to keep you engaged and stimulated. It’s possible you wish your work were a little easier, or less stressful, but at least you do not have major issues with boredom on the job or feeling “stuck in a rut.”

Your team is challenged by its work. Habituation and boredom are not an issue at this time.