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Avoid These Ways To Destroy Motivation

Every leader makes mistakes. It's easy to get in a pattern of demotivating behavior. Before long, you might not even know what you're doing to undermine enthusiasm.

The process of removing these demotivating factors is a lot like the process of refining your golf swing. You may need an outside perspective figuring out what's wrong, just like you might take a video of your form. After that, it's up to you to step up, put in some practice on your game.

Also like a problem in your swing, there are a few common places to look for opportunities to improve. I won't speak to lining up a drive in this article, but here are a few common demotivators you might run into as a leader.

Avoid Leading Without Integrity

One of the most damaging things to motivation is a lack of integrity. People look to you to determine how they should act. They're going to compare two things: What they see you do and what you've set up as your company values.

That's why, even if it isn't the easiest path to take, you should always avoid acting counter to your company's culture. If you have a rigid structure, don't break your own guidelines. If you have a culture of creativity and innovation, try not to require approval for everything. 

You don't necessarily have to change the way you do things. You have two choices: Avoid acting in a way that undermines the values you've communicated or change your message to reflect the way you really do business.

Avoid Falling into Known Hazards

Aside from working against your own culture, there are some practices that have the potential to completely undermine a team's motivation. Here are a few examples of things you want to avoid as a leader:

·         Playing the blame game: You want people to learn from their mistakes, not to be humiliated by them.

·         Micromanaging: A leader's job is to show people what they can do. A manager's job is to make sure things get done.

·         Withholding approval: Giving only negative feedback is a sure way to reduce confidence and engagement.

It might take some serious self-control and self-awareness to eliminate these barriers to success, but your team will only see the positive side. Just like a pro's golf swing, your ability to keep a team motivated will eventually look graceful, natural and effortless from the outside. 

Committing to Improvement

As you develop as a leader — a lifelong commitment for all of us — you'll find reinforcing and avoiding these weak practices is just as important as developing your strengths. You may end up slipping into control mode or looking for someone to blame, but leading isn't about being perfect. It's about being the best you can be and inspiring others to do the same.

Culture, LeadershipPhil Gafka