How Not to Motivate Your Best And Brightest

Sections of this topic

    Are you seeing a decrease of employee motivation and morale, especially with your top performers?

    Don’t look for causes and solutions out there. Instead, chances are you’ll find critical employee issues are actually resulting from a host of internal management practices. Here are five “demotivators” – sure ways to dampen the enthusiasm of your best and brightest.

    1. Overloading them with responsibility.
    A study recently released by the American Management Association found that 76% of professionals surveyed said they had more responsibility than a year ago, while 65% said their workload has increased. But more responsibility doesn’t necessarily translate to greater job satisfaction of top performers. Rather, it can be viewed as being “dumped upon” and that can lead to a decrease in their motivation and performance.

    2. Micromanaging their efforts and their time.
    Once given the scope of their assignment or project, top performers expect that you’ll have trust in their ability to move forward without constantly looking over their shoulders. An important part of managing others, especially if they are highly competent, is to let go.

    3. Creating confusion about roles and responsibilities.
    The best and the brightest want to attack assignments with vigor and decisiveness. They want to know things like what resources and decision making authority they have. If it’s unclear it can lead to conflict with others over who does what with what people and when it needs to get done.

    4. Focusing on the bureaucracy not the results.
    There’s nothing more frustrating, when you clearly see the big picture, than to have someone insist that every decision must be pre-approved in triplicate. In too many workplaces, the myth of empowerment is one of the greater fantasies. Loosen up the bureaucracy and grant freedom to those who earn it.

    5. Constantly changing goals and objectives.
    Top performers are definitely goal driven on both a personal and business level. Each goal accomplished at work is another message that life is good, that work is satisfying. Take that away, by constantly changing, rearranging or eliminating previously stated objectives, and you will frustrate the goal-driven employee.

    Management Success Tip:

    Eliminate these “demotivators” before you start planning so-called “motivational” perks. Free coffee and donuts are pleasant, but they’re like bubble gum in a major league baseball dugout. Players appreciate the taste but it has nothing to do with motivating them to hit an inside fastball thrown at 98 miles an hour. The hit is the result of their hard work, focus and wanting to succeed. Also see Motivate Your Best People and Not Break the Bank and What Makes a Great Boss.

    Do you want to develop your Management Smarts?