As a manager, you set the tone for your team’s performance. If you are enthusiastic about your work, you will probably generate a similar level of enthusiasm among your team members. If, however, you are tired and/or bored with your work, this lack of enthusiasm will also be transmitted to your team and you will see it mirrored back to you.
Effective leaders are hard workers who perform well, and they model these qualities for others. In addition, they value continuous learning, new challenges, and opportunities to develop themselves. They adapt well to changing circumstances, and inspire others to do the same.
If you are not a natural superstar, take heart—you are not alone. Everyone has ups and downs in their personal lives as well as their careers. If your enthusiasm and personal drive are in a low place right now, here are some ideas for revving them up.
First, look at your personal habits. Are you getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly? And do you laugh every day? All of these will have an impact on your energy level and personal drive. Taking care of yourself isn’t optional; it’s required for you to perform at your best and be enthusiastic about your work.
Next, take a look at your work habits. Do you just plug along, day after day, without doing anything new and exciting? Do you find yourself doing the minimum in order to keep your job? If so, you are in a rut, and you need to do something about it. Volunteer for a new, challenging assignment, or review your career goals. Decide on a new goal for yourself and decide how to go about achieving it. Your attitude will probably need to change, and this will be easier if you are excited about doing something that you can make happen.
Consider your level of commitment. People who are overcommitted get burnt out. You can’t possibly be good at everything, so choose a couple of things at which to excel, and allow yourself to be average at everything else. Or, maybe you have someone on your team who is good at the things you aren’t, and that person would be happy to take on some extra responsibilities. If you have time in your days on a regular basis to plan and consider new directions for your team, you will most likely be more enthusiastic and therefore more effective.
Consider your strengths, and those activities that give you energy. Typically, your greatest success will come from developing your strengths, rather than shoring up your weaknesses. If you aren’t sure what your strengths are, ask a trusted colleague. Everyone has strengths, and you need to find your own, work with them, and choose a development plan that maximizes them.
For example, maybe you are great at planning, but execution is painful and tedious for you. There are probably numerous opportunities in your organization to develop plans for new projects, and those involved would welcome your input. Or, maybe you are great at marketing, but not so good at accounting. Get involved in a marketing organization, and think about new ways to market your team’s products or services. If you still have to do the accounting, get it out of the way first thing in the morning and allow yourself the treat of planning a marketing campaign. Nobody is good at everything. You will probably find that developing your strengths will lead to greater enthusiasm and renewed excitement about coming to work.
Finally, if none of these suggestions are successful at increasing your personal drive and satisfaction with your work, consider whether you want to continue in your current role, or if you really want to do something else. Managers who are not excited about their jobs over the long term are not doing their teams or their organizations any favors, and they should think about moving on to a different job or career.
That’s just the way it is. Be honest with yourself, and you will discover what your next steps should be.