Five Common De-Motivators Leaders Do Unconsciously
- By Andre Boykin
Today's workforce is stretched to the MAX! Most employees are trying to give their all and are performing tasks that reach well beyond their job description. As a leader, you are no exception. You may be stretched so thin that at times you may forget to do the things that make you a great leader!
As a leader, check to see if you are unconsciously making these mistakes:
1 - Publicly Criticizing
I wish I had a nickel for every time I observed a leader criticize a subordinate in front of a group. Inevitably the leader makes their point heard, but the impact on the employee is costly. The employee is embarrassed and certainly looks for ways to stay out of their manager's way. Over time this can really cause performance to suffer.
As a leader, you need to give constructive feedback one-on-one. Discuss the issue privately with the employee. This gives you and the employee the opportunity to talk things out. Done properly the employee will appreciate your efforts and will be motivated to improve and do more.
2 - Not Keeping Staff in the "Loop"
Leaders often struggle with deciding how much information should be shared with their team. The more open you are, the more trust you will create. Of course there are times when information needs to be kept confidential, such as mergers and acquisitions, company restructuring, etc. If you have information that must stay confidential reassure your teams that you cannot talk about the issue at this time, and as soon as you can, you will. Your team will appreciate your direct candor.
3 - Failing to Recognize Employees' Efforts
Failure to recognize employees' efforts will definitely de-motivate your team. As a leader, you may get consumed with the daily problems and forget to stop and take the time to provide positive feedback.
Not feeling valued and appreciated is one of the biggest issues that come up when we conduct Organizational Climate Surveys and 360 Degree Feedback Surveys. Most employees are not looking for elaborate recognition. They simply want to be acknowledged for their efforts.
4 - Interfering with Staff Member's Team
As a leader you need to reinforce the people that you have put in place to manage others. One sure way of sabotaging your managers' ability to lead is when you allow their subordinates to complain or grip about them to you. I am not suggesting that we don't support an open door policy. However, first encourage employees to discuss issues with their direct supervisor. Coach the employee on how to approach the supervisor and then follow-up. Make sure things were handled to the employee's satisfaction and check-in with the manager to reinforce the positive behavior.
5 – Sending Mixed Messaged Compliments
Often the compliments we attempt to make to encourage our employees are filled with mixed messages. We may say something like: "It was really great that you prepared the spreadsheet for sales, but you really should have asked me first." The message that the employee hears is: "I need to ask my boss before I do anything!" The compliment doesn't get heard.
The key indicator that you are mixing messages is when words such as: "But", "However", and "Should" or "Shouldn't", are being used. Instead, determine if you want to give a compliment. If so, let the compliment stand on its own. Don't add a qualifier to the compliment.
Avoiding these common mistakes require your time and effort. As a leader, you will certainly reap the benefits of creating an environment that keeps your team motivated.