“People always say to me that motivation doesn’t work because you often have to motivate people every day. I say to those people that we also should eat and bathe every day and that I highly recommend it.” – Zig Ziglar

Although some people might not believe it after reading this post about not being respected as a professional and this one about my grandmother some folks might find it hard to believe that I’m still a relatively upbeat and positive thinking person. The trick to maintaining a positive outlook even when everything isn’t totally going your way is to realize that though there are things being thrown at you that they won’t stay that way forever, and often will resolve themselves for the better in the end.

When i was a director, I worked hard to maintain the process of positive motivation every day in the office. I did that because, though I hadn’t heard of Zig Ziglar at the time, I knew that keeping people thinking about the best things most of the time worked way better than fostering an office of inconsistency, anxiety, fear and malaise. I wanted people working towards something, not working because it’s all they knew how to do. When people are positive in their thinking then they do better work than they do when they’re thinking in a negative way all the time.

Something else Zig Ziglar always says works here as well: “You can’t do everything because of positive thinking, but you can do everything better because of positive thinking than you can with negative thinking.” That seems like such an easy concept, yet so many managers fail on this point with their employees.

Always having to hit deadlines is stressful. Riding employees until they’re ready to fall from exhaustion is idiocy. You wouldn’t build a factory with machines that you were going to push beyond their specifications until they crashed and made you shut down production. You’d set up processes so that things would run smoothly every day and thus maintain a semblance of consistency so you and everyone else knew what to expect. That’s one thing management is supposed to be about.

But machines aren’t people. Just because you ask a machine to give you all its got doesn’t mean it’s listening to you. But your employees will listen to you. And if you give them reasons to do it that are more for them than for you or the company they’ll go out of their way to achieve things that might even be beyond their greatest expectations of themselves.

Setting realistic goals works wonders. Offering rewards of some kind works even better. Daily encouragement can make people feel good and make them want to work for you as hard as they can. At the same time, they’re working hard for themselves because if you do it right, their pride won’t allow them to give less than they can give. It gives them something to look forward to, a great sense of accomplishment.

And it will work on you as well. When your employees feel good, you feel good. And when all of you feel good, it shows in your work and has the potential of rubbing off on others you interact with. And who wouldn’t want that positive feeling every day of their lives?

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