You hire an incredibly talented employee to take care of a task that you either have no more time for or aren’t smart enough to do and yet you micromanage them to the point where it’s not even them doing the work.
You need to remember why you hired this person in the first place and learn to let go of that control. What you’re doing is making the employee feel useless, and this is a sure way to demotivate employees.
Even if you are 30% better at a task than someone who works for you, the time it takes for you to check on them every few hours, and demand approvals over trivial decisions, costs more in lost morale, passion for work, and destruction of self-respect among your staff than the 30% you think you’re adding.
You Focus On Mistakes
Try your best to have a positive attitude and create a positive environment in the office. Humans make mistakes, it’s natural, and you need to learn to be more forgiving.
Instead of focusing on mistakes, try to focus on the wins (no matter how small) your team accomplished, this will ensure that they always stay motivated.
Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.
You Dismiss Ideas
Every idea is a good one, and not every idea that an employee has will be implemented. It’s important to at least hear them out.
Make your employees feel like they have a voice and have some say in the decision-making process of the company. This process will naturally make employees feel more like they’re part of the company.
If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.
You Don’t Keep Your Word
This one is just plain rude and it can quickly kill all employee motivation.
If you say you’re going to do something, or even worse, not do something, you have to keep your word. One of the biggest keys to successful employee engagement is building trust between the company and its employees.
Like any relationship, if there’s no trust, it won’t work out. The lesson here is simple — keep your word.
Honesty and integrity are absolutely essential for success in life — all areas of life.
You Make Empty Promises
There’s nothing worse than getting your hopes up, only to have them destroyed. A promise is sacred. If you promise to do something for an employee, you better be able to keep it.
I’m all for having a “cool” boss that jokes around with us and is somewhat easy going, but it’s important to maintain that employer-employee relationship.
As much as employees would love to let loose, and be their true self, this is a professional relationship. The lesson here is to think before you speak. If your joke is sexist, racist, or offensive in any way, you probably shouldn’t tell it. Save it for when you’re with your friends, not your employees.
Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.
You Hold Useless Meetings
There’s nothing more annoying than finally getting into a good groove of working, knowing that you have a deadline to meet, and a manager will call an unannounced meeting.
Most of the time meetings are spent with managers who organized it talking. If you need to hear yourself speak just for the sake of speaking, don’t disturb everyone else’s day.
Record a video of yourself on your phone, you’ll have more fun watching it later, and you won’t upset your employees.
Measuring Employee Success Wrong
I’ll give a personal example for this one to explain my point. I once had a manager that measured the productivity of software developers by the number of commits pushed to Github.
For those reading this that has no idea what that means, it’s like measuring the quality of an essay by the number of words, it’s flawed.
This totally ruined employee motivation, because they knew they were being judged on things that they shouldn’t be judged on. It’s important to understand how you’re measuring for success, and what metrics you’re using. Always look to improve the way you measure success.
To properly motivate employees, they need to feel like they’re accomplishing something or at least that their goal is attainable. If you set unrealistic deadlines, you’re most probably going to demotivate your employees, because it will feel like they’ll never cross that finish line.
It’s important to keep this in mind. You can potentially break it down into smaller, more attainable goals so that at least there is an illusion of completion.
You Pick Favorites
This will motivate employee that you’re picking as a favorite, but obviously, it will demotivate the ones that are being left out.
A lot of these mistakes that managers make are so easy to avoid. It’s just about treating your employees with respect.