Updated: Jun 9
Every Manager or Team Lead has had to deal with team members who lack motivation or has lost motivation at work. This is a common scenario and one that every leader must be equipped to handle, whenever such a situation arises.
Why do employees lose motivation?
Sometimes a team member, or worse, a group of people in a team may have lost motivation. They get disengaged from work and become unproductive as a result. It could be due to various reasons. Lack of motivation at work can manifest itself in many different ways. It happens gradually but the tell-tale signs are there, and every manager must recognize them, else end up losing staff, who are otherwise talented and an asset. The signs could manifest in the form of a missed deadline, inactive body language, loss of work quality, increased absences and so on. These signs should not be ignored, and pro-active steps must be taken to understand the root cause of this disassociation and get them back on track. As an employer or manager, you have a certain amount of responsibility for the motivation and well-being of your workforce. For a team to function to the best of its ability, all members must be fully engaged and fully committed.
Few reasons why employees could feel demotivated could be:
Not feeling valued Human beings like to be appreciated for their efforts and contribution. It is mostly a default feeling that we all possess. If an employee’s efforts are not recognized or appreciated, by their boss, they soon lose interest and begin to lack energy and commitment in fulfill their role. They start to consider it a waste to time to give their best to a company which does not value their contribution. It is, therefore, very important to award and reward successes and achievements, in small and big ways.
No development opportunities Many MNCs spend a good budget on regular training and development opportunities for their employees. This is because such activities can help boost employee motivation and engagement. Employees feel valued when the company takes care of their capability and growth needs. This increases loyalty and work motivation. If a workplace is only about work and less about employee morale, it starts to feel stagnant and non-progressive. Nobody wants to work in an uninspired environment which lacks motivation.
Lack of an Able Leader When the team or company has effective leadership, it goes a long way in giving the employees a feeling of security and building team confidence. Strong leaders instill confidence and focus in a team and guide them towards success. If the leadership is lacking or tends to negatively affect the team, it affects employee performance and is a sure fire reason for certain employees to feel de-moralized.
No Career Progression Money certainly is a major factor for every employee. But with it, career progression is also a major factor for any employee to remain motivated. Every employee looks forward to promotions and role change. If they feel that there is no progression for them within their organization, work suffers. It is important for every company to set clear, long-term goals for employees, to proactively work towards projected outcomes and move forward in their respective roles.
Conflict Conflict is a white ant, which if not handled properly, can destroy teams. Every manager would like to avoid conflict within his teams but that is easier said than done. Conflicts are bound to happen. When the discussion is a healthy debate, in such cases conflict is healthy. But every manager should ensure it doesn’t escalate. Some team members may have a powerful presence over other team members which can leave the latter feeling intimidated. It is always good to have an anonymous platform where every employee can reveal his/her concerns without worrying about a hit back.
The doer always has to do more scenario This happens when the management relies too heavily on one or two members of the team and places huge demands on them without realizing, they are overburdened with work and unrealistic timelines. They can soon become disillusioned, stressed and lose motivation to perform. A manager must ensure every team member must have realistic goals and deadlines. Even a light workload can make an employee lose interest and get frustrated.
A demotivated employee can become unproductive, inefficient and rigid about not wanting to improve since they have lost interest in their work and the company. What can be even more of a setback is, they can demotivate other employees and spread negativity all around him/her. This could be dangerous for the company and could lead to more team members going the same route. A manager/business owner should deal with such issues quickly and efficiently. If the employee is a troublemaker, he/she should be asked to leave immediately so that the negativity does not pass on to other members. If the employee is a valued employee and has lost interest due to some reason a Manager can motivate and re-engage him/her in many ways:
Motivating a Demotivated Employee - reigniting the passion
Find out the Why If you want to fix the problem, you have to first know the reason. Talk to him/her and find out the problem. Talk in a setting that allows the employee privacy to open up.
Uncover the underlying issue If the issue is a private one, a problem in their personal lives, offer a supportive ear and listen. Approaching your team member with compassion, rather than accusations, and showing them your support makes it possible for your team member to open up. Caring for your team members takes your team relations to the next level thus building stronger bonds and trust.
Show them you care A manager who takes genuine interest in the well-being and career growth of his team members is well liked and trusted by his team. The team members give their best and do work that the company can be proud of. They know their efforts will not go unnoticed and are confident of getting their due. Help your team progress by encouraging them to keep doing better and bringing excellence into whatever they do. Your team will go a long way to make you feel proud of them. Ensure regular communication sessions with team members to discuss what went well and what will need improvements. Brainstorm ideas with your team. All these actions help to strengthen manager-employee relationship and build a cohesive team culture.
Offer them new challenges People can lose interest and lack motivation when they keep doing the same work, day in and day out. Break the monotony. Get creative. Assign new roles or tasks. Offer your team new challenges. Re-arrange their workflow. Push them to achieve new goals and reward them for work well done. This way, your team will get involved in new, challenging projects.
Build trust as a leader As a manager/ business owner, building credibility and trust with team members is a must. When people trust you, they have confidence in your decisions. Your leadership gives them the confidence, strength and support even in uncertainty. That is because they expect you to do what you say you’ll do. When your employees trust you, they find it easy to share their problems and views with you. They are more open to discuss their concerns with you rather than look for a new job elsewhere.