three ways you might be demotivating your staff

May 19, 2014

“The point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely -all your skills, gifts, and energies- in order to make your vision manifest. Enjoy the process of becoming.” – Warren Bennis (from Susan Cain)

leaders eat last book with Simon SinekMotivation is something that we read about a great deal. Most of what I have read about motivation actually smacks of manipulation. One of my strongly held opinions is that you can’t really motivate people, but you can demotivate them very quickly. Many organizations look for, and find, motivated people which is what you should do. Unfortunately, they then go about demotivating them.

Simon Sinek, in his book Leaders Eat Last, talks about several subjects, but three things really stood out to me as ways we demotivate those we lead.

First, do you see people as a commodity to be managed in order to help grow the money/ministry? Great organizations see money as the commodity to grow their people. Want to demotivate your staff? See them as a mens to an end. See them as “human resources” to be managed just as you would money, buildings, machinery, and so on.

Second, take away their sense of safety. I am not talking about physical safety (although that is critical), but it is using stress, intimidation, humiliation, or isolation to “motivate” people that makes them feel insecure and lack a sense of emotional safety. Instead, give them a place based upon a clear set of values where everyone is valued and are provided a “safe” place to work.

And thirdly, take away a person’s sense of control over their job and watch their motivation plummet. In studies cited by Sinek, the lack of control over ones job is probably the greatest contributor to destructive workplace stress. Sinek goes on to say, “A supportive and well-managed work environment is good for one’s health. Those who feel they have more control, who feel empowered to make decisions instead of waiting for approval, suffer less stress.”

So, does the culture of your organization value people as people? Is your organization a safe place to work emotionally – for everyone that works there and not just a select few? And finally, do you actually empower people and give them control over their jobs? If not, maybe these are some of the reasons you are struggling with a demotivated staff.

Organizational health is critical to the success of your organization and these three areas are indicators of your health – how are you doing?

Have a great week!

BG