Leadership comes in different shapes and sizes.
In any sector, there are leaders that can either inspire their teams into proactive success or demotivate with the result that they accomplish few of their goals. The element that determines whether you’re a successful leader usually comes down to whether you lead by “my way or the highway” approach, or “influence”.
Leaders that use a dictatorial style of leadership to motivate team members rarely get the results they want.
The truth is, fear and discomfort will only push a person so far, and in fact, often results in them going in the opposite direction.
Alternatively, influence relies on creating a culture that empowers each person within a team to take control of their actions and develop their own path to success. While a “dictatorial” style invariably leads to higher turnover rates and below-average results. The good news is that influential leadership can create the innovation organisations need to thrive.
The problem with many leaders is that they don’t always appreciate how their leadership ‘style’ impacts the drive and motivation of their team.
Though its uncomfortable to hear; you could be killing your team’s motivation without even realising it. Here, we’ll examine some of the actions that could be harming motivation in the workplace, and what you can do to change it.
1. Inadequate Compensation
All employees want to feel both appreciated and valued. The amount that you offer employees in terms of their compensation and benefits package directly affects their interpretation of how much you care about them.
Unfortunately, compensation packages that are out of touch with the industry benchmark could mean that you lose your most valuable employees when a small pay rise or flexible working hours could have made the difference. Though I am sure you ensure this happens, make sure that your compensation and benefits packages are in line with your industry standard.
2. Lack of Acknowledgement
Many teams thrive on the acknowledgement of their peers. ‘Bosses’ who don’t acknowledge or notice the needs of their team can often suffer from employees that are less loyal and engaged than they could be.
In some cases, a lack of appreciation may mean that employees reign in their efforts because they learn that there’s no obvious difference to them between giving it their all or purely ticking the necessary boxes, only.
Remember to provide motivational feedback so that your team members know you appreciate their hard-work and efforts. As a rule, praise in public, and always criticise in private. (Or as we say at Excel Communications, give developmental feedback in private and one to one)
3. No Room for Self-Development
Often, the employees that are happiest in their career are those that can learn and grow within their chosen role and company. People pursue jobs that appeal to their passions, and when leaders give team members the chance to learn, it is an investment into their future.
As a contract, if your employees know that no matter how hard they work, or what they do, they’re never going to have an opportunity to progress in your team or company, this can be demoralising.
Training programs can be cost-effective ways to inspire and motivate your employees whilst making them more productive and efficient too.
4. Unrealistic Expectations
There’s nothing wrong with having lofty aspirations for a person, team or organisation. In fact, setting expectations for your team members is crucial when it comes to letting them know how you want them to behave. However, setting unrealistic expectations, deadlines, or changing the goal posts regularly is going to lead to frustration for everyone involved.
If employees can never meet your expectations, this can lead to them being demoralised. Additionally, they may end up working themselves too hard, which could lead to fatigue and burnout.
Expectations need to be set and adhered to so that your team know what is required of them and what the boundaries are. Constantly raising the bar and changing the goal posts meaning your team members never quite make it will have a negative impact long term.
5. Lack of Clear Goals
There’s a fine line to walk between having unrealistic goals and making an individual’s target so vague that it appears they have no goals at all. As a start, a manager or leader in any team environment needs to make sure that everyone is aware of the company vision.
If staff members can’t see where the path ahead is taking them, it’s difficult for them to be productive, and this can lead to unnecessary time wasting and confusion.
Following on this theme, it’s important that an individual’s goals relate to the overall vision and are clear. Using SMART as a process to set goals ensures everyone has clarity and that goals can be measured.
6. Micromanagement and Failure to Delegate
Though employees in all companies crave direction from their leaders, a lack of freedom and understanding can also hamper their abilities. If you don’t delegate to your employees, or you watch over them at all times and give them no space for creativity, then they may feel suffocated. Micro-managing your employees or withholding work that they could potentially do is simply a way of telling your employees that you don’t trust their judgement or quality of work. Remember why you hired each employee in the first place, and give them room to breathe.
7. Empty Promises
Finally, motivating your employees often comes down to trust. If your employees can trust their leader, then they’ll feel comfortable following his or her direction – no matter the task at hand. Unfortunately, empty promises will diminish this trust, as your staff members learn that you’re great at making promises, but not so good at keeping them.
Whether it’s an upgrade in pay, a day off, or the chance to work on a new project, make sure that you follow through on everything you offer.
Motivated Employees are Good Employees
Employees that feel inspired and motivated by their workspace are more likely to produce incredible results than team members who feel restricted or suffocated by their professional environment.
With over 30 years of experience as communication skills and global leadership company, Excel Communication can help you to motivate your team with incredible training opportunities and leadership solutions. Call us on +44 (0) 1628 488 854 to learn more about our programs.