Young leaders frequently ask me to explain motivation techniques because they work with unmotivated employees or volunteers. We discuss carrots (rewards) and sticks (punishments) as motivational tools.

In addition, we discuss the power of progress and advancement opportunities as fuel for motivation. However, I’m taking a different path today.

Motivation increases as leaders stop de-motivating people.

7 Ways Leaders De-motivate others

  1. Actions without why’s de-motivate. Humans need higher purpose. For example, higher purpose motivates parents to work long hours in order to provide for their children. Without purpose long hours are meaningless. Furthermore, employees who don’t understand the greater significance of their job lose passion.
  2. Distrust de-motivates. I’ve heard people complain they were promised an opportunity that never materialized. Or, consider this complaint “The boss took credit for my work.” Unethical leaders quickly let the steam out of motivated employees.
  3. Moving targets de-motivate. Employees working to achieve performance objectives that unexpectedly shift may feel their motivational fire cooling.
  4. Ambiguous or unattainable goals de-motivate. It’s true that setting goals that are just out of reach can fan an employee’s enthusiasm. But if you set the goal too far out of reach they’ll give up.
  5. Favoritism de-motivates. This ugly problem can emerge in any situation. However, employees who are promoted to positions where they manage teams that include personal friends may experience the negative impact of perceived favoritism.
  6. Under appreciation de-motivates. Employees who don’t feel understood and appreciated for their efforts gradually lose fervor.
  7. One-way communication de-motivates. Receiving messages from on high without participation in the process makes people feel they don’t matter. When we don’t matter our performance doesn’t matter either.

It’s too easy to de-motivate people. Successful leaders eliminate de-motivators.

Have you experienced de-motivation?

What de-motivators can you add to this list?