Focus on removing de-motivators vs. trying to motivate
Managers often focus on incentive programs and other “flavor-of-the-month” ideas to improve employee morale. But there’s a simpler way to attack this: Identify and change the behaviors that are crushing motivation.
When employees start a job, most have tons of energy. They want to run thru walls to achieve great things. For many, something happens along the way that destroys their motivation.
That something is usually their manager.
Here’s a list of 5 common sins managers make – and specific steps to change those actions – courtesy of Cyndi Maxey
This is a holdover from the outdated classic “command-and-control” management style. Dressing down employees in front of their co-workers is probably the least motivational tool available. There may well be times when managers have to correct employees in a group setting, but it should be done in a non-critical way.
Any overall comments on a worker’s performance (“That’s the third time you’ve screwed up this week”) should be made in private. If they’re made in front of an audience, the message is lost behind the workers’ feeling of humiliation.
Hard to understand but many managers just can’t seem to be able to tell their reports they’re doing well.
Here’s an example of an employee whose supervisor rarely offered him an encouraging word. One day the employee was surprised when the manager stopped him and said, “I just want to let you know you’re doing a good job.” The employee was stunned for a minute, until the manager added: “They told me to say that at supervisor school to improve employee morale.” Nothing like a heartfelt pat on the back.
Don’t follow-up on ideas
Many managers give lip service to the idea of employee input – and a lot of them never act on any of the ideas they hear.
Not every idea is a good one. Some are too costly, some don’t fit the company’s overall plans, and some just won’t work.
But managers need – at the very least – to acknowledge employee contributions. And if an idea can’t be implemented, the employee should be told why.
Keep ’em guessing
Poor managers communicate in generalities, putting employees in the position of having to make assumptions about what is expected of them. It’s the old “No, that’s not right…I’ll know it when I see it.”
The technique is the ultimate productivity killer – not to mention its affect on employee morale. Without a clear set of expectations, how can employees possibly succeed?
Ignore individual differences
Of course, managers have to be consistent – you’ve hammered that into their heads in order to keep the company out of legal trouble.
But all employees are different. Everybody brings slightly different styles and values to their workplace experience. Too often, managers reward individuals who are most like them and punish those who are different, crushing employee morale.