Do we need to arrive at work already motivated for the day ahead? This would be ideal, as both the workers and the company would stand to win. However, the reality is quite different, as a large number of people are demotivated by their job. The reasons for this lack of motivation may range from issues with the “boss” to stress over the current economic instability to spending the day completing tasks viewed as less than rewarding. Who is responsible for the fact that there is a significant collective of demotivated people? According to Rubén Llop, professor of the EADA Strategy, Leadership and People Department, the company’s general manager is at fault: “His responsibility not just as a boss, but as a leader, is to build a work environment where people can do their best in as few hours as possible in order to reconcile their professional and family life.”
To achieve this goal, Dr Llop recommends opening a dialogue with workers, beginning with an acknowledgement of their expertise. “You know this area very well and have a broad experience that enables you to have a critical perspective,” he would begin. “Would you like to contribute to making a substantial improvement to this specific aspect and get more involved in company projects by contributing your point of view?”
In Dr Llop’s opinion, “this type of leadership –based on proactiveness on the part of the team— differs completely from demanding workers to complete a specific task without taking into considering their motivation”. But the greatest difference between the two leadership styles is in the results. “When the manager invites you to take part in the company’s projects, you become more involved and committed,” he insists. “In contrast, doing something through obligation leads to demotivation and, consequently, to a minimum amount of involvement and commitment with the company.”
Self-leadership: Personal leadership
Self-leadership is the type of leadership that Dr Llop defends in today’s constantly changing, competitive environment. “Companies need committed people who are able to adapt to new changes, but who can also explore new skills and competencies in which they can excel,” he explains. This is called self-leadership and it is based on personal and professional growth inside the company. “With self-leadership, you step outside of your comfort zone and explore new areas that enable you to grow in the company and keep you active and motivated,” Dr Llop says. “Read yourself well, look for new approaches, new things to learn and analyse new capabilities,” he recommends.
According to Dr Llop, this type of leadership is always valuable, but is especially effective in today’s uncertain times. “We live in environments that are constantly changing that demand that we seek out new survival alternatives,” he points out. “We have to accept this uncertainty and focus on what we can do to address it: focus on the capabilities we already have and explore new ones.”
What’s more, Dr Llop points out that this uncertainty actually fosters change in cultures and processes on a company as well as an individual level. That’s why, he adds “it is more necessary than ever before to have leaders who know how to manage this change, allowing the team to contribute to improving the organisation”.