How to Motivate Yourself When the Boss Doesn't

Michele Warg
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A full day's work should be a rewarding experience. However, when your boss is not the type to offer a pat on the back for a job well done, it may seem challenging to find the job motivation you need on a daily basis. Career success depends on you and you alone, though, which is why discovering intrinsic rewards can help you find your own inspiration.

Even though your boss may be running the show, you have the power and ability to put yourself in the driver's seat. Job motivation relies on the individual, not the boss. Create your own sense of progress by setting attainable goals to obtain career success from within. Compose a career plan with small, detailed steps that will help you achieve these goals and gain job motivation at the same time. Some goals may be related directly to your job, such as finalizing a proposal or tackling a stack of filing, while others may focus more on career success, such as achieving a promotion within your department or nabbing a quarterly raise. It is best not to set unrealistic or overly ambitious goals as those types of goals might actual de-motivate you due to minor failures when job motivation is your ultimate goal.

Motivate yourself on the job by celebrating small career successes too. An article in Educational Psychology Interactive suggests that job motivation results when a stimuli is present within employees. You may be more likely to see the value of career success when small steps are celebrated that ultimately help you reach an overall goal. For example, an employee who is compiling a presentation for a client may anticipate the challenge of winning the client's business, but celebrating each positive reaction or completion of presentation materials may provide the job motivation the employee needs to nail the client presentation and exhibit more confidence.

Employees can also motivate themselves by performing self evaluations of performance throughout the year. For example, create an evaluation for and realistically detail areas needing improvement and tasks accomplished. Viewing a list of what you have achieved within your career can be a rewarding and motivating task and worth more than a pat on the back from your boss or a trophy sitting on your desk.

The ability to be your own cheerleader often enables employees to find job motivation intrinsically versus waiting for a boss to recognize efforts or career success on a daily basis. Even though it would be ideal to hear praises about your performance from a superior, learning to praise yourself and build your own confidence and sense of self worth on the job may be the only motivation you need to climb the ladder of success.


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