How many successful companies and employers have said that their teams and their men are the biggest investment of all? Perhaps, too many. Investing in your team does not only mean more productive team members but also a harmonious environment.

The Harvard Business School conducted a very comprehensive survey on workers’ motivation from 2001 through 2004. Among its respondents are 1.2 million employees working at over 50 of the Fortune 1000 companies at that time. The study found that a great majority of employees are enthusiastic when they start a job but in about 85% of the companies, employees’ morale declines after only six months and further deteriorates as the years wear on.


Fast forward to a decade and you will get essentially the same result. Gallup surveyed 25 million employees in 189 countries. The massive 2013 study revealed that there are twice as many unhappy and disengaged workers as there are ones who love their jobs. Only 13% feel passionate about what they do, 63% have practically checked out, and 24% are what Gallup calls “actively disengaged” or simply hate their jobs. In short, work is a source of frustration rather than fulfillment for 87% of the global workforce.

Do you think you have used up all your motivational skills in firing up the troops? Here are the 10 things you are probably doing wrong:


It’s not about the money

Forget about the price tag. Sure, money is something but it is not everything. According to a survey by BNET of CBS Moneywatch, 29% of employees said “doing something meaningful” is what motivates them more than money. Money came in at a close 25% but this should tell you that you can’t wave salary increase under your employees’ noses all the time.


 Image by Elvis Payne via Flickr

No, they don’t want to do that forever

You hire an employee because he or she is good at something. However, you can’t expect a copywriter to copywrite all his life and still come to office everyday jumping up and down with excitement.

Motivate your team by being clear about their career path. Conduct regular evaluations and be truthful with it. Schedule training and classes and make them feel like they are getting somewhere.


Do not micromanage

You don’t inspire your team by being over their shoulder all the time and telling them what to do. There is a thin line between being a hands-on manager and a paranoid boss. Nothing is less motivating than being supervised all the time. Let your employees do their job and when something wrong happens, let them own up to the mistake and let them fix it.

Don’t want to get personal? Try a little.

A lot of managers want to stay out of their employees’ personal lives. If you don’t know how and when to draw the line, maybe it’s best that you should. However, honor the fact that your team has a life outside the workplace. If a single mom has to pick up her child from school and it won’t really hurt her schedule, let her be a mom. If someone got sick in the family, if an anniversary had to be celebrated, if a 30-year old single lady finally finds a date, let them go. They will be happier. When the time comes that you will need them to spend extra hours in the office, they will gladly do it.


“Unfriend” them not

It is okay to be friends with your team on Facebook. If at all, you should not be the one who should feel like being spied on, right? However, be friends with them for the right reasons. This is a way to get to know them personally without trying too hard. You can even start a page or a discussion wherein your team can communicate. Most people are on social media all the time anyway but Search Opt Media suggests that it is important to have a digital detox once in a while. Don’t let social media control you in any way. If done with the right amount of caution, this could be an example of effective leadership in the digital age.


Don’t mess with day-offs

Give your employees time-off. It is stated in the Law and basic rules of human consideration. Day-offs will give employees time to recharge, explore, and experience. These are all necessary to be more productive and creative. Don’t stress them out and don’t make them hate you. Give them a break.


Image by net_efekt via Flickr

Do not be such a boss

Being rude does not only mean shouting instructions and frustrations all the way from your employee’s cubicle to the comfort room. It could also be as simple as turning away when your team delivered on a job.

Say thank you. A quick “thanks” when an employee handed you the report she has been working on for a week should not be so hard. Saying “thank you” is one of the most valuable motivational skills. If you have a problem with affection, say thank you via email. It can make someone’s day.


Image by Harsh Patel via Flickr

Do not isolate yourself

Your team had a Friday night out last week. Did you join them? Don’t say small social gatherings are beneath you. When people stay in the office for eight hours everyday, it is natural that they would want to hang out in a less stressful environment. Admit it, you do too. You are not sending the “I am the boss” message in a good way when you consistently refuse them. What your team gets is “I am too good for you so stop inviting me” message.


Join them once in a while and make them feel like the workplace can really be an extension of their home. It would be better if you would encourage them to have basketball or tennis tournaments.


Nothing to discuss? Don’t call a meeting

There is something that employees hate more than long and boring meetings. A research by reveals that nothing frustrates workers than “hearing the same thing over and over again.” Teams get this notion of “having meetings just to have meetings.” They also hate meetings that have an unprepared presenter, don’t start and finish on time, no agenda, and a meeting that can harldy stay on track.

If you have nothing new to say, save your team time and your company’s resources by not calling a meeting.


You don’t know everything

Stop acting like good things can only come from you. Foster creativity by asking your team to brainstorm and explore new ideas. Make the set up as relaxed and informal as possible like a coffee house or just surfing the internet. The best ideas come when the mind is not forced to come up with one.

Make your team feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. Inspire your team by giving them a free hand, giving them responsibility, boosting their sense of self-worth, and respecting them as a human being whose needs and ambitions go beyond the four corners of the workplace. The number one rule in motivating hardly ever change: believe in them.

Author's Bio: 

John Anderson is a Web Developer, Creative Content Director and a Commissioned Artist. He is particular in watching web and social media changes and uses. He is interested about various internet trends and enjoys his day job as a cartoonist and commissioned artist. Follow him on Twitter @johnanderson090.