Monday, September 12, 2011

Keep It Flowing

Photo by Catherine V

I am writing this sitting beside a Colorado mountain stream. The air is crisp, the water cold and clear, and morning sun shines through the willow and aspen leaves until they almost glow.

Rivers and streams are something of a minor miracle to me. Perhaps it’s because I’m a native of Colorado, an arid state where water is a precious resource and nearly every stream in the state originates high in the Rocky Mountains. What amazes me is how the water keeps flowing. To look at a river is to see millions of individual drops of water that originated in a cloud, or a melting snowfield, or burbled up from some subterranean spring. And these rains, snowfields, and springs happen out of sight, over and over again in sufficient quantity to fill this river. It’s beautiful…and amazing.

I think of motivation like these mountain streams. Effective leaders and managers maintain a flow of motivation and encouragement throughout their teams. If you’re new to these roles, it can sometimes feel like this job is something only you can do, that you’ve got to provide all the positive energy and motivation for your team. But you don’t. That would be like one rain cloud hovering over this river to keep it full of water.

In a healthy team, motivation and encouragement come from every person being empowered to work from a place of personal vision and energy. Water flows because it’s water…and in healthy teams teachers teach, builders build, gardeners tend and cultivate, writers write, nurses care, chefs cook, pilots fly, and so on. Each person can become a source of motivation and encouragement.

Creating these teams is work – the real work of management. Ensure people are aligned with their vision, that they are not unnecessarily burdened with junk that keeps them from being effective, and equip them with skills to communicate, resolve conflict, and be leaders themselves.

How do you keep motivation flowing?

David M. Dye

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Twitter: @davidmdye
David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

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At September 23, 2011 at 12:18 AM , Anonymous Averie said...

Thanks for the reminder that I have and need help :) Where were you when you wrote this?

At September 23, 2011 at 10:20 PM , Blogger David M. Dye said...


You're welcome - I'm glad it's helpful! We were staying above Estes Park along Fall River.

Take care,



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