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Motivate Without Stress

Stress-Free Motivation

It’s an interesting dichotomy.

You manage a group of employees, and as a manager, your primary responsibility is to produce a product (or deliver a specific service) meeting a specific schedule and performance standard (sounds like nearly every management job, right?).

As a manager, you need to motivate both yourself and your team.  Without motivation, producing quality results is nearly impossible in all industries.

Additionally, you have financial incentives to meet stretch goals, so you push your team harder so everyone can enjoy the financial bonuses.

But motivating employees causes stress.  And pushing them for the stretch goals causes even more stress

The stress is on you as the manager and on the employees to meet production.

Unfortunately, stress is a demotivator.

So, our normal operating cycle is defined as:

 motivate = stress = demotivate

Stress-Free Motivation

Studies have shown that too much stress in any professional situation will mask talent and lead to poor decision-making. Our ability to focus, solve problems, and accurately remember details declines dramatically in the face of excess stress. We’ve all seen it happen when someone “chokes” under pressure.

Without question, some lower level of stress helps us get our work completed.  It keeps us on our toes, stay competitive, and be aggressive.  But beyond that optimal level of stress, anxiety takes over, and performance plummets.

So, as managers, how do we motivate and push without crossing beyond the optimum level of stress?

Motivate with Less Stress.

Here are several management suggestions to motivate your staff without causing excess stress.

  1. Promote your purpose. Purpose is about helping people see the impact they are having on the end-users of the product or service.    Managers need to remind their teams that their work has a personal impact on someone, regardless of how remote.
  2. Set clear goals for your team members. By setting clear goals, your team members do not have to think long about what their initial task was supposed to be. It focuses on the important task at hand.
  3. Encourage employees to move. In order to reduce stress in the workplace, encourage your team members to take time from their day to exercise at the gym, take a walking lunch or meeting, or try a yoga class.
  4. Workplace recognition. Another way to reduce stress in the workplace is by encouraging workplace recognition. Great companies know that the employees are the heart of the business. A great manager recognizes the efforts of their team members and appreciates what they have done for the company.
  5. Move dissatisfied employees.Some employees can’t be motivated, and their discontent draws a disproportionate amount of time and energy away from managers.

The Bible

One of the benefits of reading and studying the Bible is that it, by itself, is designed to relieve stress.

Stress caused by management’s motivation efforts is basically from the feelings that we cannot get done what we are asked to do.  We can’t do it on our own, we will fail, and someone will be disappointed or worse.

Philippians 4:6-7 says.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 11:28-30 says.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

As managers, we will always create some level of stress in our employees.  And even though there are ways we can reduce that stress through our management techniques, we need to help our team members reduce their stress by showing that God has already taken all our stress and that they need to do the best they can.