Managing fatigue: navigating challenges in finding motivation in a high-pressure work settings.

In October 2023, I found myself in a moment I thought I would never be in – sort of exhausted and demotivated. As someone who has always strived to be the driving force, motivating others to deliver, the cheerful spirit and keen team player, I feel I have hit the break point. The high expectations, huge organizational change and the relentless focus on the bottom line with excellence at leading people have left me drained. I feel as if I am being perceived only through the lens of Excel sheets, being overlooked behind the numbers. It is a pivotal time for me to find the drive to inspire others while being demotivated myself. I am asking myself if I am allowed to feel demotivated while being a CEO? Furthermore, I feel guilty finding myself not enthusiastic enough to do this or that at times. Working in a multinational environment may be truly challenging, particularly when the pressure to meet the targets overshadows the value of human connection and well-being. It’s as easy as ABC to fall into the race, neglecting the essential factor of motivation and morale in the team. It feels like I was gently nudged into setting targets when the expectations were crystal clear from the outset. While I am expected to feel as a part of the process of change, I suspect some cultural differences often lead to well-intended efforts to involve me in the decision-making, ending up with me feeling maneuvered in the decisions or situations that are not wholly mine. The process is called “inclusivity”, a trendy and catchy expression of the last months. From our cultural standpoint, direct communication of the things that need to be done due to certain reasons with everyone being urged to engage is a lot more straightforward way to approach touch decisions. Since the final outcome is well-known in advance, why waste time and energy on this so-called inclusive way of taking decisions? This might leave people with the impression of being hooked rather than included in the decision-making. Certainly, this comes as a part of my role to fulfill other people’s expectations. However, being in this role, what I have been discovering expectations don’t always become “ours”. Sometimes, from the very beginning they are and remain “theirs”. And this is fine by me. And now we come to another level of management skills connected with driving forward “other people’s” expectations as yours. It is another level of the art of management, I tell you. It is a master level. We are still just humans, with our right to undergo ups and downs. Remaining highly engaged and dedicated for a long time, capacity to be yourself is a must. Bearing in mind all the above, we come to the conclusion that the best we can do is to build a Team within which we can be ourselves without losing receptiveness and authority while things are going bad or if we are just in lower spirits. Creating space where people, including us, feel safe. The space where not only results but emotions count as well. However pathetic it may sound, the word “Team” is crucial in our role as a CEO. It is worth all the money and time, I am more than convinced. It seems to me that this is not the first time here that I come to the same conclusion. Am I boring? I have a great Team. Being so tired of everything I have to remind myself of this more often. Thanks God it’s Friday. 😊
You can and should set your own limits and clearly articulate them. This takes courage, but it is also liberating and empowering, and often earns you new respect.

Rosalind Brewer (COO & Group President of Starbucks)