If you are a leader, an important part of your job is motivating people, getting them to reach their potential and perform at their best. The problem is that many managers are not aware of how motivation works and how best to instill it in their workers.
Here are a few ways that managers may, unwittingly or not, actually reduce the motivation among their people
1. Using fear or intimidation
There are some managers who still insist on attempting to motivate their people through fear or intimidation, which is counterproductive. Psychologists have determined that positive reinforcement is the best way to motivate people. Research has found that rewards are much better at increasing motivation than punishment.
It’s also important that managers reward people for the right behavior, that is, achieving their goals, and not for other behaviors.
2. Need to know
Some managers also operate by giving their employees just enough information to address the task at hand. These managers don’t see the need to give their employees the big picture, to explain how their work fits in with the larger goals and strategies of the company or why the project is even being undertaken.
But to keep employees motivated, they need to see how their work is impacting the entire organization and how it contributes to the overall goals of the company. They need to know the why as much as the how– to have a sense of purpose in their work.
3. Playing favorites
This is a surefire way to knock the motivation out of employees. It will be hard for them to give their best performance when they see that others are receiving preferential treatment.
A leader needs to treat everyone as fairly and equally as possible to maintain a motivated workforce.
4. Being a hypocrite
Saying one thing and doing another is a good way to extinguish motivation. For example, a supervisor who expects his people to put in long hours but who routinely leaves the office early will soon begin to create dissension within the ranks.
A leader’s words and actions need to match and to be consistent if he or she is going to create trust and loyalty among workers.