Motivation and Demotivation


Success in business is rarely down to technical skills or knowledge alone. Getting the most from your team is the sign of a good manager and can lead to a successful business. The key to this is motivating people and giving them space to develop themselves to their full potential. Being able to motivate your team successfully starts with wanting the best for your people. If you care to find out about them and their needs and ambitions, you will find what motivates them. This will keep them performing at their best.

How can you motivate your team?

Suggestions for motivating your team:

• You have to be motivated yourself to motivate others.
• Motivation needs to be focused on clear, specific, realistic and achievable goals.
• Seeing progress towards those goals gives a sense of achievement and helps revive motivation.
• Motivation requires managing – there are always hurdles along the way that drain energy or distractions that take your eye off the ball.
• Everyone has different motivations – you just need to find what they are. They may well be different from yours and will give you useful insights into what drives people. Ask your people what they want from their job, and for the business as a whole.

Your staff may say money is a motivator – but look closely and you will find that it is frequently more of a stepping-stone to another goal: for instance, money to travel, retire early or a desire for recognition.

• A sense of belonging motivates – the smaller the group to which someone belongs, the stronger the loyalty, motivation and effort.
• Participation motivates – people feel more motivated when they feel their involvement in a project is important and valued. Often we exclude our greatest assets – the people around us – from decisions in which they could be usefully included.
• Challenges motivate and people often rise to the occasion. However, it can also be demotivating if they are too difficult, or conversely, too easy to achieve.
• Motivation needs recognition and reward – even if it’s something as simple as a thank you.
What causes demotivation?

• Constantly moving goalposts – people lose sight of goals, or feel they will never reach them and so cease to care about them any more.
• Not knowing what is going on. If you do not bother to tell people what is happening, you can demotivate and possibly alienate them too. Uncertainty is a very destabilising emotion in a group.
• Not showing faith or trust in people.
• Arbitrary decisions which are not consistent for all members of staff, and humiliating people in front of their peers.
• Pay, work conditions or available facilities can affect motivation, and often small changes can bring large differences.

Signs of demotivation

• Increased absenteeism/sickness.
• Incomplete or careless work.
• Lack of concentration.
Motivate yourself
Before you can inspire others to extend themselves, you need to develop your own sense of motivation. Here are some tips to help you.
• Build your confidence and develop self-belief. Success doesn’t always go to the strongest person, but to the person with the greatest conviction.
• If you work alone, identify an understanding person with whom you can talk through business issues and who will encourage you. A mentor can help here.
• If you feel overwhelmed by a daunting task, such as sorting out your tax or personal finances, it tends to affect the rest of your attitude.