As a leader, you must keep a team, division, or corporation inspired and motivated. But how? As a knowledge worker facing tough challenges or overwhelming problems, you must develop resilience to crack through barriers to discover the breakthroughs required for success. But how?

  • Drop the ego. Don’t try to shape the problem around your own dreams, interests, or needs. If the matter is being driven to satisfy your ego, others will sense they are being conned and you will lose the sense of cooperation and compliance you need from others.
  • Apply your best expertise. If you, yourself, do not have the expertise to handle the matter, then enlist someone who does. Or, provide the training to someone who is able and willing to acquire the expertise, if there is sufficient time to allow such a longer-term strategy.
  • Break massive challenges into smaller ones and spread those out over a larger group of knowledge workers, or over a longer time frame if you are tackling it with a small team or by yourself.
  • If you find yourself defending the idea or matter with excessive energy, then likely the idea or matter is bad and ought to be either broken into smaller pieces or abandoned.

Your subconscious mind is more intelligent than you are. It is often brilliantly sensitive and insightful, though clumsy and inarticulate.

  • Emotions are solid signals. Don’t ignore that inner feeling of anger, frustration, helplessness, excitement, etc. That’s your subconscious mind signalling that the situation does indeed demand action now. You may not be able to explain WHY you feel that way, but your subconscious is often brilliantly sensitive though often inarticulate.
  • Find something about the matter that you are fairly certain you can achieve and win at. Create reasons for celebrations, provided those also are obvious signs of moving forward towards achieving progress. Small achievements can result in big leverage on the emotional and motivational scale.
  • Accept losses as helpful, good, useful. By now, you likely are sick and tired of hearing the adage, “…a loss is a step closer to what works.”  But, guess what?  A loss is indeed a step closer to learning what works by learning what does not work. That loss teaches you what not to let happen again in the future. Be thankful for that learning experience.
  • Track any successes you do achieve. Use a notebook. Use a graph. Build a giant barometer. Do whatever it takes to keep your successes and positive progress visible to yourself, staff or company at large.
  • As you progress, do not temporarily abandon the matter. Keep at it. There is much to be said for keeping in motion.  This does not mean that you never take a relatively short break or never rest. You must. The brain needs a break from time to time. A break or rest, on the the other hand, does not mean to  “set the matter aside for the time being”.
  • When criticised, and you will be, look for the seed of truth and usefulness in it. Most often there is one, but you need to push past the emotions and the criticiser’s inarticulate arguments or explanations. Treat criticism as an offering of something useful until you can prove it is not useful.
  • Encourage feedback, but within some framework and some discipline. Put some criteria on the manner and type of feedback you welcome. In a corporation there is no such thing as a democracy or as freedom of speech. If you fail to contain the nature and type of feedback, it can result in disruption.
  • Don’t aim for perfection. Instead, aim for implementing something. By implementing something and “testing” it, you can learn what doesn’t work and, more importantly, what does work.
  • Keep records. Don’t do the same thing over and over again.
  • Prepare yourself to blossom. Use your spare time to improve your knowledge and skills, preferably learn more to help address or solve your matter.
  • Business is indeed serious business. The paradox, though, is that by taking business too seriously, you jeopardise the sense of fun that the creative, problem-solving process requires. On the other hand, if you try to artificially impose fun, you can disrupt the creative process and even create problems. Let the experiences evolve and make note of them. Those moments are precious. They become the stories which make up a person’s, or a company’s history. [Click here to read more about the vital role that stories play for any team or company:  CHUCKLE, SOB, STORIES…   STEP-2 STORIES  and more by typing “stories” in the search box.]
  • Learn to delegate. No matter what the matter, there is always too much to get done by yourself or with your team. Find some actions or elements that you can delegate to others who can do it as well as yourself and as well as your team members.
  • Trust matters!!  Trust must be demonstrated.  Trust whoever is helping you. On the other hand, if you can’t trust that helper, then don’t delegate a task to that person. But, if you do delegate, then you must demonstrate you do trust that person. One way to show trust is to avoid the desire to micro-manage. Another is to let that person decide the need for and frequency of meetings, instead of scheduling regular meetings as managers typically do to justify their existence.
  • Give credit where credit is due. That’s an age-old piece of wisdom that managers often overlook. When someone successfully completes or solves a matter of importance, put that person front and center to ensure that person receives full credit for the success. If it is a team that succeeded, and the spotlight has to be shared, then be sure to place some emphasis on the critical role each person played so that each person is recognized as making a valuable contribution. However, when something fails, step up and act as a shield by showing you are resilient enough to take the full blame.