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Dear Coach, I am feeling quite unmotivated and disengaged at work at the moment. My job used to excite and challenge me, but for a while I have felt like I am spinning my wheels on the same tasks and just “coasting” without progressing my career. Is it the impact of the pandemic or is something wrong with me? How can I get out of this motivation rut?

There are three signs that lead to disengagement at work and knowing these signs can help you understand the levers to regain motivation and start afresh in 2022. Author Patrick Lencioni describes the triggers of job misery: anonymity, irrelevance and mismeasurement. Your experience of these three factors is unique and you should start by considering how much change is within your control and how much is shaped by your manager’s style or your workplace culture.

To take action, you can follow these three steps.

1.  Do you feel valued?  Feeling seen and appreciated for who you are, not just as a professional but as an individual is at the core of what drives us. If you are not experiencing this in your workplace at the moment, how can you create the conditions to feel valued?  A conversation with your manager to seek their feedback on your contribution this year could help them express what they have not had time to in the last six months. Consider asking them: “Where have I added value this year?”, “When have you seen me at my best?” and “What do I need to do to grow and add even more value to the team?”

2. Do you know what drives you?  Can you express what you love at work and what you want to contribute? Can you express your “why”? Clarity on your personal purpose influences your motivation at work. Take some time away from your desk to reflect on:  What typically gets you out of bed in the morning? In the last week, month or year, which activities did you particularly look forward to? What were you doing when the time just flew by, and you felt effective?

These are the activities that give you a hint of your personal strengths. Identify categories or groups of activities and label them with what you love doing when you are in the middle of these tasks.  What are your core values? What would you never want to compromise? Is it the love of learning or the courage to close a deal? Is it the responsibility to create a fair outcome for everyone or to protect the organisation against excess? Is it about providing support to others, bringing lightness, humour, and perspective to a team or is it about providing sound advice based on data analysis? If these are difficult to identify, you can take the strengths identifier survey.

3. Have you aligned what you love and what you do? Based on your answers to the previous questions, you can start defining what you want to bring to a role that is unique to you and your passion. Too often we progress through our career because the next step seems obvious. But obvious and natural is not always aligned to your personal purpose. Is your current role allowing you to do what you love? Where do you need to go next to experience true alignment and spend more time fulfilling your purpose?


Maud Lindley is the founding director of Serendis Leadership, an Australian leadership consultancy helping to develop agile, visionary, inclusive and adaptive leadership for success in an increasingly complex business world. She specializes in career coaching senior executives, with 15 years’ experience in the field. She holds a Master in Finance and Business Management as well as professional accreditation with honours from the Institut des Neurosciences Appliques, a leading French institute in positive psychology and executive coaching.

Maud will be providing career and leadership coaching and advice each month to LSJ readers via the “Career Coach” column. Got a question for Maud? Email [email protected] and we will do our best to have it answered!