Are you feeling stumped on how you can effectively shake up uninspired employees? We got you covered. 

No one likes to be micromanaged. As a manager, it’s your job to notice the signs and reasons that are causing your team’s motivation to falter and redirect the next course of action to help them escape it. 

Applying the wrong strategy can easily cause a backslide, further demotivating your team and in the worst case scenario—end with resignation.  

To avoid such scenarios, let’s take a look at these 5 common motivational traps that employees face: 

  1. Misaligned personal values
  2. Unrealistic expectations and workload
  3. The feeling of no control over their tasks 
  4. Feeling undervalued 
  5. Poor leadership 

Luckily, we found a great way you can easily work with your team around it and even leave some bandwidth for you to plan ahead.

By the end of this article, you should be able to graduate to detecting a motivational crux early, use your sound judgment to define the next course of action, and help your employees out of a rut.


5 Common Reasons Why Good Employees Lose Their Motivation 


By its definition, motivation boils down to the willingness to get a task done. 

And from our experience, we’ll cover the common reasons for these motivational failures you might already notice or want to prevent amongst your team that is affecting: 

  • Their willingness to start a job
  • Persevering in the face of roadblocks or distractions and,
  • Investing the mental effort to see it through to success.

So let’s dive in. 


1. Misaligned Personal Values 


Money can’t buy you happiness. Clichéd, but according to Harvard research it’s true. In a majority of cases and careers, money is only a small fraction of your employee’s motivation. 

Research has instead shown that individual and team motivation thrives when their tasks connect with or contribute to their personal values. Finding out what they thrive on and building a sense of belonging go hand in hand here. 

While you may be motivated to reach 1 million paying customers by the end of September, the series of tasks you’ve assigned to your team can easily feel randomized if they can’t see and connect with the bigger picture. 


What they’re feeling: 

I don’t care enough to do this or, why should I spend my time on it?


How to appeal to their personal values: 

Different employees respond to different value links to their set of tasks. So it’s time to find out what each of your direct reports cares about and connect it to the task by conducting regular performance reviews. 

Holding effective performance reviews can help move the needle on their individual performance and build better positive relationships between you and your team. 

In fact, managers are encouraged to engage in proactive conversations with each individual on a regular basis for perspective-taking and realignment. And we’ve got a great 5-step performance review checklist just for this.

Your best bet is to try and appeal to multiple values when you’re having trouble finding a value fit with an employee. The name of the game is balance. 

Sometimes, it is necessary to make your team hold their nose while completing a not so favourable task. But always be clear to reconnect it to the bigger picture and the future benefit of completing it. 


2. Unrealistic expectations and workload 


If you’re bearing the brunt of a team that over-promises and under-delivers, it’s time to ask yourself if your team is feeling overwhelmed and why. 

When you’re managing people, you’re also learning to balance your company’s objectives with their capabilities. The last thing you want is a player from your team burning out. 

Breaking down your high-level initiatives and goals into smaller tasks before you assign your team members is an effective way to do this.


How they’re feeling: I don’t think I’m able to complete or do this. 


How to prevent burnout:

Assign tasks that each report will finish by next week, not what they are expected to finish. 

While high-level goals can be long-term, it’s important to set realistic expectations from your team. This gives them a chance to deliver on what they promised to do. 

A strong manager is one that knows the strengths and weaknesses of each member of their team and knows how to coordinate them. So it should be easy for you to allocate the appropriate workload that will fit into one week based on each individual.  

If you’re not holding regular, effective performance reviews as we mentioned above, here’s another reason to get started to get on the ball with your direct reports. 

Always assign tangible tasks for your team members to avoid overwhelming them from the get-go. 

Some great performance management tools can help you systemize your review processes and goal setting to ensure a healthy working environment and culture, and make it easier for you to spot the early signs of burnout. 

This brings us to our next item on our list. 


3. Lack of control over their tasks 


It’s a no-no to dump all these tasks on an employee and expect them to immediately get with the program and get it done.

Assigning tasks within tangible timeframes is important to set clear expectations. But so is investing the time to explain the value and goal of it to your reports.


How they’re feeling: I feel like I’m just being told what to do, my inputs have no value. 


How to get your team involved every step of the way: 

Get them involved in setting their weekly tasks. Creating a list together with your team will make every member feel like they have control over their daily work and tasks. 

Even better if you open the floor to an open conversation. Letting them suggest their own tasks for the week will make them feel that they’re directly involved and working together towards the company’s success. 

Plus, as their manager, you’ll know exactly what they’re up to and you can help them prioritize high-urgency items that will move you closer to reaching your targets. 

Remember, no one likes being micromanaged but it’s your role to have an overview of all the moving pieces within your team. 


4. Feeling undervalued 


Now more than ever, as teams are moving to remote and virtual working arrangements, recognizing small but important wins can mean all the difference in keeping your employees engaged and how they’re feeling in their role.


How they’re feeling: Why do I need to try my best when my efforts just go unrecognized? 

The solution is simple, get into the habit of giving recognition publicly. Even if it’s just a virtual shout-out or pat on the back. Something as simple as a weekly stand-up to celebrate small but important wins makes sure that your team’s efforts don’t go unnoticed. 

As teams grow, it’s common for you, as a manager, to get caught up in balancing everyday tasks, forward planning, and welcoming new hires. This is one of the main reasons why managers need an effective workflow system to better visualize roadmaps and keep teams engaged. 

And this relates to our next point. 


5. Poor leadership 


We believe that there is no such thing as a bad manager, just a lack of systems in place. 

Effective leadership is an essential factor in motivating your team and the right approach is a flexible, inclusive one with a clear set of communicated values to instill confidence and focus.

As a manager, it’s important for you to be at least 5 steps ahead of your team and to keep them engaged in every step of the way. 


Share High-level goals with your team


Keeping your team in the loop on high-level goals or long-term objectives gains them a shared sense of purpose and urgency. A high sense of belonging was linked to a 56% boost in job performance.

When your team feels as though they’re robots running on automated tasks, this is where things start to get sloppy. 

Run a tight ship by communicating, displaying, and even reminding your team of the bigger objectives. Constantly drilling down on the big picture encourages your team to think about how they can put their best foot forward to move towards the company’s success. 


Wrapping Up 


There you have it! We covered the 5 most common motivational traps that cause great teams to falter and lose their motivation. Let’s jog your memory, these are: 

  1. Misaligned personal values
  2. Unrealistic expectations and workload
  3. The feeling of no control over their tasks 
  4. Feeling undervalued 
  5. Poor leadership 


We shared some useful tips to help you spot these early signs, avoid being a micromanager and the workaround that you can offer your team to escape the rut. 


But we have a better solution that will change your team’s mindset while boosting productivity, here’s a platform to help you help your team stay motivated and escape their Monday dread. Get started today with Slick by contacting us today. Pssst— your first 2-weeks are on us!