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The #1 Way to De-Motivate Your Most Talented Employees

By Susan Hall

In today’s frenetic global business climate, companies are looking for ways to leverage their talent and to improve employee performance and engagement. In this video blog, we look at one of the key behaviors that stifles talent and prevents good managers from becoming great leaders.

Over the years, my clients often ask me about how do I tap into the energy and the talent of my employees and really get the most from their performance? And there's obviously a lot of different answers to that question, but today I'd like to talk about the number one way I think that managers unintentionally squelch the talent of their employees.

If you think about a time in your career where you have been incredibly motivated and the work just flowed, you did great work. Time flew by. What was the climate like? What were the conditions under which you were working that brought out the best in you? And when we ask this question to our clients, typically four things come up.

One is it was a challenging task. It was really important work and it was important that we did it well.

Secondly we had very clear goals. We knew what the overall vision of the project was.

Third there was an amount of autonomy that we had freedom and flexibility and free rein.

And fourth there was some accountability. We knew that there was some skin in the game. There were some stakes some pretty high stakes for the project.

When we ask, "Okay, so where was your boss when all of this was happening?"

What's interesting is that we get people thinking. Either they weren't there or they provided clear direction and they provided vision and they provided feedback but they weren't hovering over us. In other words never do we hear the boss was standing over me telling me exactly what to do.

So I think unintentionally good managers fail to become great leaders by micromanaging their employees and either, especially in sales, we find that they often close business for them or they tell their employees what to do. So the question becomes how do we get over this and how do we move forward?

Well it really all comes down to the mindset of the leader. The leader has to change their thinking from, "How do I control this?" to "How do we collectively, as a team, manage this project?"

What that entails certainly it's simple, it's not easy, but it's important that they create a shared vision that their team clearly understands what those goals are, what that vision is, that they create a culture and a team environment where people feel free to contribute their best thinking, expressing and exploring ideas and they're not going to feel judged or squelched down. But the most critical thing to shift from that kind of heroic, "I've got to be responsible for all of this" thinking is to enlist the help of your team.

Best of luck and let me know how I can help you achieve more effective training!

Published: August 7, 2015


Susan Hall

Vice President- Business Development & Performance Improvement

Susan brings over 20 years of experience working with global markets and organizations, helping them navigate through tough economic challenges while maintaining their margins. Since joining SEG in 1995, she has had the privilege of working with organizations that truly value the development of their employees and recognize the impact their people have on their bottom line results. Susan graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a double major in business management and speech communication. She has also completed course work toward her master's degree at Johns Hopkins University.

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