How You Are Killing Your Team’s Motivation Without Even Trying
There are two sources of motivation. The self and the outside. I cut that. Motivation is a seed that stems from within. The outside source is a passing fancy or an infatuation that vanishes away as soon as the external source disappears from our consciousness.
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To keep it everlasting, you have to implant it within yourself. You have to then constantly nurture it every day till it bears a fruit. I say this because motivation as an internal resource is a hard concept for leaders to understand. And just because of this, there exists a thriving industry devoted to employee motivation, which is the idea of hiring an outside consultant to motivate employees.
Remember — such tactics don’t succeed in the long run and you will eventually have to gravitate onto internal motivation. So let’s talk about them only.
Internally managers try to do a lot of things to keep the team motivated like: team building exercises, weekend adventure treks, or the coveted get togethers. But what most of the managers forget that these exercises are not enough to keep team’s foot on the track, they need more.
In implementing these activities managers are doing nothing different from what an outside consultant would do, what they need to understand is that motivation will only work by changing the internal mechanisms of doing things.
Internal mechanisms like: restrictive rules, mishandling of conflicts, working without a vision, withholding of information to name a few; are a major source of demotivating employees at work. These internal mechanisms survive, and become a part of work culture and the accepted way of doing things. Most of them are hard for managers to realize, because they are not doing them deliberately.
This means you may be unconsciously killing your team’s motivation. To help you, I share a few internal mechanisms that kill employee motivation:
Keeping Your Team In the Dark
I have seen some managers who don’t provide a visibility into the company policies, plans and vision. They regularly ask for things without letting the employees know how their work will help in achieving company’s goals and targets. Without this personal sense of contribution to achieve a greater purpose employees will never be able to value what they do.
Instead of keeping them out of picture, what managers can do is discuss the company’s challenges, accomplishments and goals with their team on regular basis. By providing them a bigger picture it will be easy for managers to make them understand why the goal of each employee matters.
Some managers try to instil a competitive environment at work by comparing different employees with one another. This tactic can be seen in an inferior sense by the employees as no one wants to be compared to someone else but to be identified as an individual.
Managers should never make comparisons for better performance measures, but should encourage team members to work more like a team. Remember that internal competition might give a sense of insecurity and the feeling of favouritism within the team, which is not good for the team.
Not Being Able to Manage Conflicts
Conflicts are just too common at workplace. And, if not handled properly they can be the worst thing to happen for your team.
Managers need to be wary of all such issues to be able to solve them before they turn into something big. Many times employee conflicts end up affecting those not concerned with it. When this happens the frustration is all the more apparent, not on the employees who cause trouble, but on the inability of the manager to deal with these issues. This makes the work environment a demotivating one.
Staying too busy micromanaging things
Many managers remain so busy in micromanaging that they end up ignoring something big. There was this manager in my office, who used to be so busy in delegating and managing projects that he never had time to come up with something innovative. Nor did he pay heed to what the team members had to say about anything.
This resulted in lack of motivation among the team to pitch something new. The team kept on trying the old methods of doing things again and again not knowing that they had exhausted their potential usage. This led to a stagnation phase, performance started to dip and the team started to fall apart.
Managers can deal with the problem of micromanaging by using project management software like ProofHub.
Making Unnecessary Rules
Rules are important to maintain discipline among the team members. But some managers try to overdo it, by coming up with unnecessary rules that make the work environment unfit for the team. For instance, extending working hours, cutting down break timings and more.
What managers need to bank upon is not on the rules but on trust to get the work done. A step in the direction of trust will help managers take a back seat on the control mechanisms. This way employees will have more fun and will be able to enjoy themselves doing what they do. This will be a great motivation booster.
Finally, motivation at work is all about maintaining a good company culture. Managers who are able to do it early with their team don’t have to use external mechanisms. All they have to do then is to keep it internally active by prolonging the use of these strategies and keep on building their game further.
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Sandeep Kashyap is the Founder of ProofHub — a leading project management and collaboration software. A passionate leader, Sandeep is always on the lookout for innovative ideas about filling the communication gap between groups, teams and companies. He is also a featured writer on LinkedIn and a contributing author at YourStory. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Also follow our company page @ProofHub to get the recent updates about our tool, published articles, motivational quotes & presentations.
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Originally published at LinkedIn.