Learning & Development

Top 4 ways you are de-motivating your team without realizing it

Keeping employees engaged and motivated can be difficult. Even though you might think you’re doing everything it takes to meet the goals in your company’s mission statement, de-motivation can occur. Actions you take as a manager have a direct impact on your employees’ performance and satisfaction.

“It is sometimes said that employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers,” Steve Armstrong, senior vice president and general manager of U.S.-based operations for Kelly Services, explained. “Kelly’s research shows that employees prefer to work for managers who clearly communicate with them and explain responsibilities, expectations and opportunities.”

“Manager actions have a direct impact on employee performance.”

As a leader, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of the company and know when your team is getting burned out. Bosses often don’t realize that their actions are de-motivating the team, but things they do directly contribute to disengagement. How can you keep that from happening? Here are some of the most common reasons why employees become disengaged and ways you can remedy the situation:

1. Not enough face-to-face communication
Today it seems that technology has taken over the communication department. Dial-ins, emails and chat enabling definitely have their place in the office environment. But you also need to have one-on-one discussions with every employee to ensure all individuals clearly understand their strengths, roles and how they contribute to the goals of the team.

Because much of communication is nonverbal, frequent face-to-face discussions about their future will mean a lot more to employees than an email chain. Employees feel more comfortable when they have clearly defined roles. Dedicating face time with each individual team member helps you work toward achieving that goal.

2. Feeling like his or her work doesn’t matter
Every person wants to know that what he or she does for a living is worthwhile. In fact, it may be the biggest motivation for your employees – even over salary. Having a clear set of goals and a plan to meet those objectives makes a huge difference  for employees, regardless of the industry. The office environment is changing. Although salary still matters, entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and drive are just as important. Let your employees know how and why their contribution makes a difference.

3. Micromanaging
Part of allowing your team to grow is providing each individual the opportunity to gain autonomy. Although it’s understandable that managers want to be involved in every company decision, micromanaging contributes to an apathetic attitude across the team. Micromanaging leads your employees to think you don’t trust them with important decisions, creating unwanted tension.

4. An unpleasant work environment
It also helps if your team actually likes to be around one another on a personal level. As Harvard Business Review points out, friendships among co-workers lead to fully engaged employees – and it makes sense. Even if you are in a high-paying position, if the people around you make you miserable, it is not going to motivate you to come into work every day. Research shows work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50 percent. Foster friendships in the office by hosting fun things to do outside of work, such as a team happy hour or movie night.

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