These are interesting times, to say the least. The increasing demand for service excellence in an ever-changing environment defined by a seemingly never-ending pandemic requires constant communication with customers — often to only diffuse their angst! And this is just one of myriad challenges facing logistics professionals every day, up and down the global supply chain. The pressures placed upon our industry’s workers to put their best face forward, while at the same time trying to manage heightened degrees of personal and organizational stress are extreme – and unrelenting.
To be sure, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to maintain positivity and motivation in the COVID-era workplace. This is especially true for those of us serving the worldwide perishables market, as we are now just entering the year’s most hyper-intense period of activity: Valentine’s Day, International Women’s Day, and Mother’s Day. This historically busiest time for shipping and handling fresh-cut flowers, is now happening concurrently with busiest time in the history of the industry.
Pressure to Perform
In an earlier message, I discussed how the pressure to perform on the job, and the feeling among workers that they’ve always got to “be there” for the team, can become counterproductive and troubling on multiple levels. At that time, I outlined tools that can be used to make their daily work experience more satisfying – and hopefully help mitigate employee burnout.
Certainly, setting and achieving short-term targets is one of the tried-and-true methods by which employees can preempt a stress overload in the workplace. But there exist multiple other ways, some as simple as paying heed to basic time-management skills, indulging in both physical exercise and relaxation techniques, and even engaging in light banter and laughs around the water cooler. These tools combined can help minimize stress while maintaining healthy levels of performance and productivity, creativity, and innovativeness.
Still, for those of us holding leadership roles within the global logistics industry, it’s important to recognize that even the most diligent workers can and will face challenges in managing stress. Like any emotion, these feeling simply cannot be turned off. And so, it is important that we be mindful of alternative ways to “survive” in the pandemic-era workplace – one of which is learning to thrive in the workplace by finding true motivation from the inside.
Rewards of Intrinsic Motivation
“Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”
Is it that easy? Well, so says Dalai Lama. Similarly, it’s a good idea to start your day not by regretting what you were not able to accomplish yesterday, but by thinking about all that you will be able to “experience” today.
I am not suggesting here envisioning a list of tasks. Granted, it’s always good to have parts of your workday standardized. Instead, what I am suggesting is, when it comes to truly growing and thriving at work and making changes to how you accomplish goals and rise to challenges throughout your day, there is another path – something called “intrinsic motivation.”
As I understand it, intrinsic motivation is fueled by the thrill of doing an activity without being drawn to external rewards. It’s doing something new for the pleasure of learning, it’s exercising for fun, it’s working with curiosity. This way, finding rewards within our day-to-day activities can actually keep us satisfied all week long. By leaning on intrinsic motivation, we tend to see work as a satisfying and fulfilling means of life, rather than a daily drudge – and this serves to effectively minimize the stressors that often come with such a mindset.
So I say finding the parts of your workday that are thought-provoking and require creativity, and then using those to energize your workflow, can make all the difference. The reward of self-determination comes each time you show up and feel that little inspiration that comes with having learned one more thing or having imaginatively solved one more problem.
In this age of transformation, find the things that foster a personal rush of satisfaction, and you may see how your workplace, attitude, and endurance can transform.
~ Roger Paredes, Prime Group CEO