How to respond to an employee’s loss of motivation

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 By Jack Nevison

Managers are usually able to tell when an employee suffers a sudden drop in motivation. Quality of work declines and productivity slows. The cause is not always insufficient compensation or laziness, and could, in fact, be a sign of a more serious problem.

Managers should constantly acknowledge employees' contributions, especially when some have gone beyond the call of duty. When an employee loses his or her sense of purpose, there can be several reasons. Tedious assignments can wear down the most diligent employees, especially if they don't think that the work is critical to the project. Or perhaps they feel that their talents could be better used on another task. Changes in policy or company vision can also disillusion workers and siphon off energy and focus. Make sure your employees understand, and are on board with, the company's strategy and direction.

Micro-management can often serve as a demotivator and kill productivity. Team members need to feel some degree of autonomy and empowered to criticize or suggest improvements. If not, they will expect others to pick up their slack and may sit on a problem until it becomes a crisis.

One way to keep motivation at a high level is to make sure that all project progress is visible and celebrated. Use whiteboard space or create a timeline that is updated with current team accomplishments. Be sure each team member can see his or her contribution to the project's progress and thank them for their efforts.

Chuck Cohn, the Founder and CEO of Varsity Tutors, a leading national tutoring and test prep company, also emphasizes the importance of feedback. "Feedback rewards individuals for their accomplishments, encourages them to improve, and empowers them to achieve their goals," he told Forbes

New Leaf Project Management's 2-day program, "Leading the Project Team," will help you create a high-performing team that is motivated and aligned to company goals. In addition, our free white papers and QPM games offer a cost-effective way to learn while you earn PDU credits for PMP recertification.

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