How to Uninspire People – Part 1

January 11, 2024 by in Blog

As a boss, you make a huge difference to the growth of your employees. From guidance to reassurance there is a lot that you can contribute toward employees giving their best.

But there is another side to this coin. Unknowingly, a business owner or manager can have a negative impact on their employees’ performance. Rub your team the wrong way, and you end up increasing complacency and disinterest instead of taping into their genius.

We are here to help you avoid such mistakes. In this 2-blog series, we delve into “how to uninspire people.” Broadly, the first blog discusses behaviors related to managing work and the second one relates to how valued your team feels.

Read on and you will surely know what not to do!

1.      Change goalposts often

Running a business is a challenge; you are thinking on your feet most of the time. It is not surprising that you often change the course of action. This is unavoidable.

What is avoidable then?

The first mistake is to give contradictory or confusing instructions without discussions.  Unstructured instructions are often forgotten. Also, your team might have spent considerable time and energy to work on the previously set direction. You need to be sensitive toward them and explain or discuss the change in direction. A good leader owes the team an explanation and takes their team onboard on the new course.

The second mistake is to not reflect before you set a course. This can cause unnecessary changes in goalposts. You are sure to lose credibility with the team if you waste their time and potential and may be perceived as fickle and indecisive.

2.      Be away at the time of crises

Imagine your team’s thoughts when you do not hold fort at the time of crisis. Not just a “melting of the iceberg” moment but on a daily basis too – people require their leader: maybe they are doubtful about a mail or want to discuss an approach or are facing some obstacles.

Just saying “please speak to me for any queries” and actually being unavailable does not work. Do not confuse this to be micromanagement. Yes, people strengthen up, get skilled and need you less often but it starts with you being there.

3.      Follow-up too much

In every kind of work, there are certain standardized processes with measurable turn-around times (TATs). If a person works, without undue stress, tasks get completed as per the TATs.

However, when there is excessive follow-up, a person feels stressed and subconsciously develops a sense of resentment. They may resort to coping mechanisms like distraction to deal with their building fear of failure. The distractions will lower quality and TAT adherence.

So, do not follow-up too much.

There is another scenario to keep in mind regarding this point: Consider a new and experimental project. You need to constantly observe and plan next steps on the go. In such cases, do you follow-up so often that an employee feels like there is a ticking time bomb on their head? This is counter-productive, especially in scenarios where application of mind is required. So, give them some space!

4.      Frequently reach out post-work

Are you stuck with a feeling of everything being urgent and critical? Does your team struggle to finish their task in working hours? Do you often call employees post-working hours?

If yes, then you and your team are always going to be on the edge. This feeling of being on the edge kills passion, creativity and capability.

The solution is twofold. First, plan well so that tasks are prioritized. Second, know the obstacles your team faces and help solve those. Revise plans accordingly if needed.

5.      Restrict Access to Information

Excluding a person from a project or refraining from sharing pertinent information will make a person insecure and fearful. Psychologically, this will lead to people working with a “fight or flight” mindset instead of being creative at finding solutions. They will feel at the edge of things and lose passion or agility toward their work.

Do you land up doing any of these? If yes, we hope we have convinced you to be mindful about them.

We have another list of not to-dos coming up soon. So, stay tuned for our next blog.

Until then, if you have any suggestions on what not to do as leaders or have any related experiences, please share in the comments section.

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    We imagine a world where the vast majority of people wake up inspired to go to work, feel safe when they are there and return home at the end of the day fulfilled by the work they do. Every product we make, every partnership we have and everything we do is to bring this vision to life.


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