Managers Should Focus on Eliminating De-motivation

By John Hunter, author of Management Matters: Building Enterprise Capability.

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The only thing you can do as a manager is de-motivate people. When you start thinking like that you starting thinking about how am I operating, what am I doing that’s causing people around me to be de-motivated. Am I preventing them from thinking?

Manager’s job is to eliminate de-motivation, not to motivate. Peter Scholtes’ addressed the problems with managers using the carrot-and-stick motivation thinking in his 2008 Deming Institute Conference presentation.

David emphasizes focusing on the aim of the system (are we really doing what is needed to maximize the system for the aim) and to use all 3 of their sources of power (position, knowledge and personality) to lead.

When people believe management cares about them, they will care about doing a good job.

I firmly believe that people innately want to take pride in their work (this paragraph is mainly my personal opinion, rather than what I can recall Deming stating directly). I also believe it is possible for broken systems to beat people down over the years so that those people have given up. They have to stop hoping to take pride in their work every day in order to cope with working in such a system. To re-awaken the person’s natural desire to do a good job it can require persistence, depending on how bad things had been. In systems where things are not so bad this can turn around quickly, in other cases people require a great deal more to start opening themselves up to potentially being disappointed again. Companies that have frequently switched from one management fad to the next make this process more difficult (people have learned management has no long term commitment to anything so don’t count on what they say today).

Related: What Really Motivates Us?The greatest waste in America is failure to use the ability of peopleManagers Should Eliminate De-MotivationBuild an Environment Where Intrinsic Motivation Flourishes

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