Demotivated Team? Don’t Try And Change Them, Change The Environment

On a recent course, a delegate was asking what he could do if the team he had were not responding to his motivational efforts.

He had tried lots of things like giving praise and recognition, helping his team to see the importance of their roles, but nothing was working.

They were perfectly capable people, but he couldn’t see what he could do to motivate them.

I feel this is one of the biggest misnomers in management, that we can manage people’s motivation levels.

If people don’t want to be motivated, it is very difficult to force them to be.

What we have to manage is the environment around them so that they can tap into their self-motivation and hence drive themselves.

So how can we provide this motivational environment so they actually want to come to work and drive themselves forward?

Here are some ideas:

1) Don’t put too many controls in place. Controls will always inhibit initiative and creativity. Get people to bring ideas to work and try not to have too many ‘rules’ of how things should be done

2) Don’t criticise in public. It will demolish trust and morale quicker than you know it

3) Make sure the ‘satisfiers’ (the physical and psychological needs people have) are well-catered for. Google and read about Hertzberg’s hygiene factors if you don’t know about these

4) Let people have an input into how their jobs should be done. Let them make the decisions that will create the ‘how’, while you concentrate on the ‘what’

5) Let people design their jobs and the roles they play. Keep it varied, without too much boredom associated with any job. If it becomes too repetitive, people will repay you by creating problems

6) Make people responsible for their own performance and outcomes. Then they will start owning it, and become more committed to it.

7) Don’t accept average as the norm. If you do, you will train people that mediocre is acceptable. Set the example of excellence and let them follow

8 ) Make sure everyone knows how their role fits into the organisational goals as a whole. Share the big picture with them, so they can see they are not just a cog in a gigantic wheel

By creating the motivational environment, you have a better chance of your team tapping in to their own drivers and wanting to contribute at a high level.

Without that environment, expect people to resist and cause problems.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training | Management Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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