Battle burnout: Address the 6 motivators to enjoy work
Enlightened managers respect this basic human need to connect with others and allow it, if not encourage it, in their workplace. Has Gloria’s manager given her the opportunity to connect with others? Has he diagnosed that this is something important to her?
Sense of Team
Similarly, some people enjoy a special sense of completeness and wholeness by experiencing team. In the workplace, many employers work hard to encourage this shared identity by conducting internal PR and messaging campaigns. For quieter teammates, a sense of camaraderie might provide an extremely important opportunity to connect and feel like they belong. Does Gloria feel she’s part of a team? How much team spirit has her boss created?
For some, a special sense of joy comes from physical exertion, and the absence of it makes any job less appealing. It just doesn’t feel like work if they aren’t breaking a sweat or doing battle with the weather. This is partly a product of socialization and might be tied up with what “work” means to them. Modern day psychology re-affirms the benefits from physical labor. We all know how endorphins can give us a slight high and everyone knows about the stress-management benefits from working out? Is getting physical a way for Gloria to battle her lack of motivation? If her job is sedentary, does her employer even offer a “get in shape” program?
Finally, a great many of us enjoy the special mental feeling that comes from exercising our creativity or satisfying our curiosity. The small euphoria that comes from developing something new or conquering a complex problem can be for a big part of enjoying work for some. Does Gloria’s boss know whether she’s incredibly bored or frustrated by her tasks? Is it time for a promotion, or perhaps a little job engineering to offer a chance at being creative?
“Why” is the Answer to “How”
So, what can be done more generally to help employees enjoy their work? Or what can Gloria or any employee do themselves? The answer is simple: treat the cause, not the symptoms. Instead of worrying about symptoms like aggressive behavior or poor attitude, employees and employers can create a more enjoyable work environment by directly addressing one or more of these common denominators. Why not casually interview Gloria about whether she feels connected to her fellow co-workers? Does she have any friends at work? Why not ask “is this job challenging enough?” or “would you like the opportunity to be more creative?” Stepping back and reflecting on each of these six motivators can guide any manager or employee toward a more enjoyable work place. There is hope for Gloria in the application of modern day psychology to the workplace.
Erick Lauber, Ph.D., is an applied psychologist and faculty at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He speaks and consults on leadership, personal growth and development, and taking charge of our own life stories. His video log is located at http://www.lifeframing.org/. Contact: http://www.ericklauber.com/ or call 724-464-7460.
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