Article by Dr Adam Greenfield, Doctor of Chiropractic, workplace wellbeing expert and co-founder of WorkLifeWell
Effective leadership drives productivity and efficiency in our teams. But even the most effective leaders will often face periods where the workforce morale is waning and the workplace stress is elevated..
At these times, we need to have a plan to support the workforce and help them with mental fatigue and motivation.
While there are numerous ways to approach this subject and each leader will have their own methodology, it’s important to recognise the signs of mental fatigue and take steps to address it. Presented here are some top tips to combat mental fatigue and boost motivation in your teams:
Find the motivators
Employees who are motivated are more productive and engaged, leading to better job performance and increased job satisfaction. However, identifying exactly what people’s motivators are can be challenging. According to Freud, people often make choices to move away from pain and discomfort or alternatively make choices which move them towards pleasure. It can be really useful to take time to find what motivates employees in the workplace. A team member that is motivated by pleasure is unlikely to work harder to avoid extra overtime. Instead, consider a small reward like a 1-hour session with a personal trainer or a meal out for two and that may be enough to keep their interests elevated. Conversely, a person motivated to move away from pain will not be attracted to the bag of treats if they complete their work on time and they may be keener to achieve a positive outcome in a looming appraisal.
Create healthy competition
Creating healthy competition in the workplace can be a powerful tool for employee morale and motivation. If implemented appropriately, competition can encourage employees to work harder, be more productive, and achieve better results. The first step is to set succinct and clear goals and objectives that the team can strive towards. This may include individual goals, team goals, or company-wide goals. It’s important to ensure that the competition remains healthy and light-hearted so that it doesn’t create a toxic or overly competitive environment. Finally, it’s crucial to make the competition fun and engaging for employees by creating a positive and inclusive atmosphere that encourages participation and celebrates successes. Find ways of praising all members along the way so that no one is feeling overly isolated.
Ensure a work-life balance
Work-life balance is essential to avoid mental fatigue in your team. Research demonstrates that achieving a healthy work-life balance can help reduce stress, increase productivity, and promote job satisfaction among employees. There are numerous ways to promote work-life balance in the workplace. Employers can consider flexible working arrangements including a degree of remote working and even job sharing. This may allow employees to better prioritise their personal and professional responsibilities. Leaders should promote resources including employee assistance programs, on-site wellness workshops and stress management training to support members of the team that may be struggling. Finally, it’s important for team leaders to model healthy work-life balance themselves and avoid contacting staff outside of work hours to allow them to fully disconnect from work when they are off-duty.
Lead by example
Leading by example is a powerful way to boost motivation and morale in teams at work. As a leader, you can either inspire and motivate employees to work harder and achieve better results or, sometimes accidentally, demotivate and disengage parts of your team. One way to lead by example is to demonstrate good communication skills and actively listen to employees. This can help build trust, promote a positive work environment and importantly identify members of the team that may be struggling under the radar.
Be ready with rewards
Rewards are a great way of boosting the morale of a team and keeping motivation levels high. Rewards can come in various shapes and sizes including bonuses, promotions, time off, or public recognition. One aspect to consider is whether the rewards align with the company’s values and goals. Another essential aspect is deciding how the rewards are going to be distributed – are you trying to focus on an outcome or a behaviour? For example, if you want to encourage closer teamwork, rewarding employees who collaborate well and share innovative ideas can encourage similar behaviour among others. The rewards need to be fair and transparent and as much as possible based on objective criteria. One can even let the team decide who gets the reward so that the decision is taken away from the leadership level. This can help prevent feelings of favouritism or resentment among employees.
Combating mental fatigue and boosting motivation in your teams requires a holistic approach that prioritises a healthy work-life balance, leading by example, creating healthy competition and rewarding ideal behaviours. By following these top tips, you can help create a positive and productive work environment that supports the success and well-being of your team.
About the author
Dr Adam Greenfield is a Doctor of Chiropractic, workplace wellbeing expert, keynote speaker and co-founder of WorkLifeWell. Adam helps senior business leaders, HR professionals and wellbeing teams develop effective health and wellness strategies to beat burnout, combat stress, reduce absenteeism and ensure happy and healthy company cultures.