You’re the boss: how do you stay motivated?

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Your staff can work flexibly to fit in with their home life. You pay them well and make sure that if someone’s done a good job, you thank them. And you even sponsor the company five-a-side football team – as well as turning out for them in crucial matches.

In other words, were badges awarded for being a good boss, you’d have an armful. But while you might be brilliant at motivating your staff, are you similarly enthused? It’s easy to forget your own motivation when you’re in charge.

Why you need to keep keen

If you are no longer passionate about your business, then all the team building and motivational speeches won’t work. Eventually, your employees will see through the façade. You need to be authentic: faking motivation will soon be detected by your employees.

Kate Howlett is the managing consultant at John Lees Associates, the career coaching specialists. She says: “It is important that you as a boss stay motivated. Just as a lack of motivation can affect the health and performance of employees, it can affect yours too. You need to put yourself first for your own good and that of the business”.

All that might seem easier said than done, however. It is one thing for an employee to admit they are feeling jaded about their work but the impact of the managing director admitting to similar feelings could have a huge effect. But actually, if you manage your demotivation well, it can have a positive effect on everyone. “You must remember that you are allowed to be demotivated and that it is a strength that you are able to admit it” adds Kate. “It happens to everyone: as long as you have good strategies in place to get your motivation back, then it is a normal part of working life”.

Carry on learning

Don’t think you’re alone in feeling jaded about work. “Research has shown that at all levels people stay motivated on average at work for two years, eight months,” says Kate. “But you can re-motivate yourself in many ways – whether it’s changing your responsibilities, taking on extra or different roles or taking some new qualifications or training. We’re not talking about re-inventing the wheel, just making subtle adjustments which can spark your enthusiasm”.

Exercising your grey matter and learning new skills could be the answer: you will remember why you wanted to do your job in the first place. The AAT offers a programme of continuing professional development (CPD) events and masterclasses to help you and your staff develop their skills and knowledge.

And every year there is a two day AAT conference which covers all the major current issues in accountancy with speeches, workshops and sessions – as well as the all-important peer-networking. AAT members also have the opportunity to network via their local branch and they also have the opportunity to access online CPD resources: so you and your staff can further their learning from the comfort of their desk.

And there are other ways to learn. Says Kate: “Have a peer mentor: there will be some parts of your work you aren’t as keen on or as good at. Seeing how someone else does it can help you improve. And also consider reverse mentoring: you can learn from those at the beginning of their careers as well as those who are well established.

“A Generation Z worker will have different ways of doing things which you can learn from. Another idea is to get a mentor from a completely different industry: such a perspective can give you a whole new outlook and enthusiasm for your own role”.

Back to the future

“Re-motivating yourself is all about putting yourself at the centre of the story,” says Kate. “It can be a good idea to take a step back and consider where you are heading and where you want to go. Often people get to a plateau in their forties and think they can go no further”. But one way to get re-motivated is to imagine that you are now in your sixties or older and are looking back at your working life. If you were doing that, would you see your current role as the pinnacle of your career, the absolute best you think you could have achieved? Or would you in retrospect be disappointed and think that you could actually have gone further – or in a different direction – with your career?

If in this imaginary scenario, you can imagine that you’d feel disappointed with your current role then you can do something about it. “Having something higher to aim at can help you re-motivate yourself?” says Kate. “Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you can’t aim even higher”.

Charlotte Beugge spent more than 20 years as the deputy personal finance editor on The Daily Telegraph and then The Daily Mail. A freelancer since 2010, her work has appeared in national newspapers, magazines and websites.

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