How to Inspire Your Team When You’re Down

Career Blog

Even the most optimistic leaders have an off day, a time when they feel less than inspired. Still, the responsibility to motivate and activate others remains. When you hit those emotional dips, you can reenergize yourself and your team by revisiting the three levers of change. 

  1. Describe the Positive Future State: Recall and reiterate the WHY behind your strategy and goals. When you consider the people your actions will positively impact, it’s easier to be motivated by and recommit to your original mission. This works for something as straightforward as reaching a sales quota or as complex as culture change.
  2. Consider the Cost of Inaction: Since some people are motivated more by a fear of loss than a possibility of gain, describe the personal and professional cost of not chasing the agreed goal. Scare tactics are not an effective or ethical leadership practice, but you are responsible for pointing out the hazards of inaction or stalled decision-making. Strike the right balance, and you’ll harness the power of Push, which can complement the compelling Pull generated from step one. 
  3. Provide a Comfortable First Step: Even the weariest of warriors can move forward. Adjusting the pace is okay when you’re feeling drained, but forge ahead with small steps. Simply taking action will often reinvigorate people and generate momentum for the wider team. 

You can’t be 100% “on” all the time. Everyone has low points. They are natural and usually brief. But even if you’re genuinely exhausted, see it as an opportunity rather than a weakness. It might be the perfect time to hand over the leadership reigns – even temporarily and allow your high-potential employees a chance to grow. 

Displaying vulnerability can often make one stronger. It has the compounding effect of strengthening those around you as they rise to the challenge. Often, you’ll find yourself reinvigorated by the actions of others and some you never expected.  

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