Or not! I am sure you have read umpteen articles about motivation, some of which maybe on this website. Most time of my time spent with leaders focusses on what they would like or think they should be doing.
Which is all well and good, but its towards the end of the week, it’s been more than a year of pandemic, and I am feeling mischievous today. …. So demotivation it is. And it could be useful to have a look at how you can really, really demotivate people, in order to reflect on the dynamics in your organisation in a positive way.
Warning: this article on leadership and motivating teams contains touches of irony!
Just in case there are some literal readers out there: this article is not aimed at telling you to go out there and demotivate your team, but as a possibly humorous opportunity to take another look at the leadership and team dynamics in your organisation.
Let’s say you’ve started a leadership position and you want to make sure you demotivate the team you’re working with as quickly as possible, here are a couple of things that will definitely work (in no particular order):
- Particularly if you’re new to the job and team, questioning what your team does wherever you can in a way that makes it clear you do not approve of their approach is a great starting point for demotivating leadership. It will leave your team wondering whether you are questioning their competence and ensure they will feel less secure in what they do and your support of their actions. It’s also a great way to ensure the hierarchy is well established between the team and yourself as their leader.
- Do not consult your team experts before making decisions related to their areas. Particularly if you are new to the area, this is a very effective tool in making sure you prove what a strong leader you are and are not valuing the competence and experience in the team.
- Make sure that you take the credit where you can, even if you were not involved in the actual achievement. Your team will appreciate you taking on the burden of appreciation.
- Do not, under any circumstances, praise your team unnecessarily, that will just raise expectations and devalue any future praise. Positive feedback, after all, is a limited and highly valuable resource and must be justifiably earned.
- Do not give too many rewards either. The whole balance of giving and taking in an employer-employee relationship is entirely overrated, and that’s what their salary is for, isn’t it?
- Tell them you don’t want to be their friend. May not always work (not being your employee’s best buddy does make a lot of sense in many cases) but saying it out loud rather than thinking it are two different beasts entirely. For those of your employees who crave a close connection to their leader, this will make sure you will not have to deal with their attempts of building a connection at any point in the future.
Having done all that, make sure you retreat to your office and, ideally, close the door, in order to let your actions have the maximum effect.