The two major obstacles that we face daily are apathy and complacency, both in ourselves and in others. Both characteristics are defined by a lack of motivation, although the reasons behind the resulting paucity of energy and efficiency are very different. It's tough enough to battle your own demons but when you manage others you need to find that special can of spinach which works for each of your employees as well.
Complacent people think that they're safe, untouchable and indispensable. These people are usually in for a rude awakening. They tend to slack off and start delegating to everyone around them. They talk a lot. They quit following the rules because they believe themselves above the fray. Complacency is the pride before the fall. No one is irreplaceable and change can and invariably will happen when you least expect it. The flip side of those who think they're untouchable are the ones who actually are. I'm talking about the short timers. People who may have once been the stars on your stage but in the final moments before their curtain call simply stop performing. Their minds have moved on well before their physical bodies and there's no point in jump starting their batteries because the gas is already gone.
Then there is apathy, complacency's fraternal twin. Apathy to me is a total lack of motivation. It can happen for a variety of different reasons but the end result is the same, a shortage of energy and enthusiasm and a total inability to perform well or at all. It happens to each of us at one point or another. Those who can't re-ignite their pilot lights often end up in a serious funk. The trick is not to let apathy take root in your psyche and to dig out those small invasive weeds as soon as you realize they exist.
On the bright side, watching someone take back control of their life and start making positive changes can be awe-inspiring. I know a woman who did that recently. The fact that I couldn't gauge how many of her circumstances were real and how many were loosely woven fabrications did not detract from the image of a woman making hard decisions and getting stronger with each passing day. It reminded me that there are some things worth fighting for and self respect is definitely one of them.
These days we're definitely fighting a bit of apathy. It's tough sometimes to deal with all of the leaky faucets and shattered bidet handles, dirty boots and broken manglers, endless special requests and passive-aggressive behavior, and then walk into the kitchen and create a beautiful meal. Frustration, whether it is with guests or employees or owners, does not make for good seasoning. We're actually getting better at not taking things personally, although there are days when I can't help but wonder why we want our own place. Then I realize that if I actually make all of the decisions that I take responsibility for, I'll be in a much more comfortable position. The toughest part of our days usually involves upholding standards or procedures that we don't agree with. This is the price we pay in exchange for a regular paycheck and that is true of any situation where you work for someone else. This realization is the key to igniting my motivation. Because in order to gain my freedom I have to make great things happen right now, in the kitchen and beyond the swinging door. Now I just have to figure out how to motivate everyone else..