If you work at a startup, you might have heard of a few ways to motivate your employees. But I’ll bet you don’t know that many ways to demotivate them! Here are my top ten. And of course these are tongue-in-cheek ideas.
Looking over an employee’s shoulder, watching their every move, and poking your nose into their business is a sure way to demotivate anyone. And it’s also a great way to say “we don’t trust you to do your job.” Forbes has a good article on Managing Micromanagers. One thing to keep in mind is that the micromanager may be suffering from being micromanaged as well.
Finding small errors and focusing on those is a sure way to demotivate an employee. This includes the formula that many use to deliver criticism–in a “sandwich” with two pieces of praise on either end. That’s still a big slab of baloney in the middle of that sandwich, right? Even if you do believe that you’ll make more money by making your employees happy, why do that?
Never Express Gratitude
If you do feel the need to say anything positive, count to ten and then wait until the moment passes. Some people seem able to follow this rule. Never saying thank you, or spending a moment to say “good job!” can work wonders in the demotivation arena.
Leave ‘Em Hanging
Promising something over and over is a fantastic way to cause people to become disenchanted. The promise can be anything from a promotion to a software release to a change in the direction of the company as a whole. And don’t explain why what they were promised never materialized.
Constant Threats of Layoffs
When everyone is frightened of losing their jobs, morale is usually at a low. Even if there is no planned layoff, having a rumor that there will be one can cause a great deal of demotivation. And demotivation often brings along its friends, Fear and Lack of Confidence. Woo Hoo!
Stupidity at the Top
Put people in charge who lack experience and common sense, as well as humility, and your people will definitely feel demotivated. You might consider hiring only friends or family members for an added demotivational bonus.
If you can avoid any communication telling employees what is going on, they’ll probably be unhappy. This includes email, informal get togethers, or all-hands meetings. Another good trick is to cancel meetings at the last minute.
Asking Too Much
Having lofty goals, and especially if they’re set by someone else, is a surefire recipe for disaster, especially if the goal-setter is unfamiliar with the victim’s work flow. If the goal-setter is in another part of the country, or better still, another country, that’s even better.
Being Intentionally Mean-Spirited
Few companies are intentionally mean-spirited, in my opinion. So being mean-spirited will take extra effort. It’s worth going the extra mile.
Lack of Down Time
The expectation of asking employees to always be “on” can cause burnout and fatigue. Need I say more?
What Are Your Favorite Demotivational Tips?
One of my favorite sites, Despair.com, has posters and calendars for sale if you need a laugh! But I’m interested in what you’ve experienced yourself. Please leave me a comment!