Jennifer Baker

Every leader and manager knows motivated people and teams are more productive, deliver better performance and achieve more profits for an organisation.

While they may well understand this, despite best intentions the chances are they are doing one or even several things that do the complete opposite: Are you:

Frequently moving the goalposts: everyone understands that nothing stays static for long in business. At the same time, they don’t want to feel like the goalposts are being continually moved without cause. This creates confusion.

Micro-managing: people want direction and at the same time they want autonomy to work in their own way. Micro-managing stifles initiative and creates disengagement.

Persistently criticising: yes, it can sometimes be incredibly frustrating when people and teams don’t deliver to the level of performance you would like. It’s really easy to be highly critical but eventually people just switch off.

Not delegating: sometimes there will be good reasons. However, not delegating becomes a bigger issue when there appears to be no reason for not doing so.

Keeping things secret: you cannot always give people all the information they would like, sometimes simply because it does not exist. By the same token, deliberately withholding essential information is setting up people to fail.

Focusing on insignificant issues: it’s really easy to pick on the soft target and justify it in your own mind. The best leaders know it is more important to tackle the bigger issue.

Setting unachievable targets: set targets too low and people will hit them without breaking sweat. However, outrageous targets will prompt people to just throw in the towel.

Not recognising or valuing what is done: even the smallest tasks take time and effort. Not valuing progress demotivates. Big successes are merely a series of smaller wins.

Grabbing the glory: yes, the buck stops with you if it all goes wrong. At the same time, taking credit for every success just turns people off.

Be aware that sometimes as a leader or manager it is easy to do things and behave in ways that actually have the complete opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve.