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Every good leader knows that their workforce is the backbone of a thriving business. Therefore, if you are a manager or leader, you have the responsibility to motivate your staff.

There are many advantages to motivating your workforce. The more engaged and motivated your people, the greater their productivity, the better service they will provide and the more likely they will attract new talent. However, many managers and leaders are inadvertently demotivating their people. Here are eight common pitfalls regarding employee motivation and how you can avoid them.

1. Appearing inactive or even lazy

If your workforce believes you aren’t working as hard as they are, they are less likely to want to give you 100%. Make a point of leading by example. Roll up your sleeves and get stuck in whenever possible. If you don’t do this, your team might think that you are just sitting back and leaving all the hard work to them. Even if this isn’t true, the fact that it appears this way can lead to a demotivated and even bitter workforce.

2. Indifference towards performance

Your staff shouldn’t have to guess if they’ve done a decent job or not. Instead, you should acknowledge their work – for better or worse. This means praising those who have done well and taking appropriate action with those who haven’t.

Many leaders and managers struggle with providing positive feedback and proceed on the basis that ‘no news is good news’. However, your team may be unsure if they are doing a good job and be worried that there’ll be a telling off or bad review around the corner. Even when individuals are confident, they are doing a good job, the fact that their manager recognises this can be hugely motivating.


3. Micromanaging

Micromanagement is one of the top reasons people state for their lack of engagement at work and for choosing to leave a current employer. Let people get on with the job at hand without looking over their shoulder. Instead, let them know they can come to you with questions and for support. This will help inspire self-confidence and develop a positive environment where your workforce is motivated to succeed.

4. Unclear instructions

Clear communication is vital in the workforce. The majority of errors and negative conflicts arise due to a lack of or poor communication. Therefore, you must remain clear at all times – whether you’re issuing a deadline or implementing a new strategy. It is also vital to check that your team understand the communication and you provide them with the opportunity to ask questions.

5. A lack of recognition and rewards

You shouldn’t have to dangle an incentive over someone’s head to get them to do their job. However, it is vital to show that you recognise hard work and show your team members that they are valued. Furthermore, when people go above and beyond what is expected of them, consider how you can reward people further. If you don’t, why should they attempt to excel again in future?


6. A negative attitude

You’re not expected to be smiling from ear to ear all day long. But a negative frame of mind can cause a tense atmosphere and negatively impact those around you. If you’re complaining and appearing stressed all the time, your people are likely to echo your attitude. If you are feeling negative for any reason, take some time out to centre yourself before engaging with your team.

As our emotions can impact those around us a positive can-do attitude is also infectious.

7. Going back on your word

Your staff will only remain motivated if they trust you and have unfaltering faith in your leadership. Sadly, it only takes a single false promise to unravel this relationship. Therefore, if you are routinely going back on your word, you can only imagine how demotivating it can be for your staff.

8. Promoting the wrong people

Your reasons for promoting someone should always be clear. Why are they the best person for the job? If you can’t answer this question easily, it’s likely you’ve promoted the wrong person. If other members of your team feel favouritism is being shown or the person promoted is not the right person for the role, it can really take the wind out of the team’s sails and stop them from striving for a promotion.

Managing people isn’t easy. It takes time and effort. If you would like to discuss how Delphinium can help you to develop your people management and leadership skills, contact us to arrange you’re a free initial consultation.

Author: Gemma Rolstone | Published 26th January 2017