14 Fatal Management Mistakes That Kill Employee Motivation

For a team to be successful, the foremost requirement is for the team leader to be a capable one. A good leader can identify strengths and bring out the best in even the most unproductive team member to get the job done. The same applies to any workplace. Just as a good boss manages the office in a capable manner, a bad boss can make management blunders that effectively destroy employee motivation and stunt growth. Some such errors are given below.

Playing Favorites

Favoritism is an ill that plagues every institution and organization. Sometimes, bosses will unwittingly run the office in ways that suit their favorite and turn a blind eye to their flaws and mistakes. This demotivates other employees to work for the betterment of the company since they realize that it is of no use anyway.

Setting Unrealistic Standards

Bosses often have unrealistic expectations from their employees. They set impossible deadlines or make last-minute changes that put an employee on the spot. The most immediate and visible impact of this is seen in the degradation of the quality of the results produced. In the long run, it causes employee burnout and increased attrition.

Creating an Oppressive Work Environment

Enforcing some rules helps bring discipline in the workplace. However, rules that unfairly restrict employees to conform to regulations that do not contribute to workplace productivity can be a huge demotivating factor. If you are inflexible, make unjust demands, or refuse to consider the genuine problems of your employees, especially if they are consistent in their work, it will ruin their motivation.

Discriminating Among Employees

The worst kind of boss is the one who discriminates among his employees based on their gender, religion, caste, color, disability, or other such factors. Instead of judging your employees based on the work they do, if you judge them on the basis of characteristics or circumstances that they cannot change, you nurture hatred and violate human rights. 

Going Back On Your Word

Many bosses believe that getting as much work out of their employees as possible riding on empty promises is a very clever thing to do. They think it makes them skilled managers of human resources. Unfortunately, it is not so. It only makes employees angry and disinterested in working in the office.

Dismissing Opinions and Ideas

A true leader is someone who takes the ideas and views of all the people working under them and uses them to create the best possible outcome. If a manager is prone to dismiss the suggestions and opinions of their employees just because they are junior to them, they lose out on some truly creative and innovative ideas or miss a critical detail or perspective. 

Micromanaging Tasks

A boss must trust their employees to effectively run the office. If they try to micromanage every single task instead of delegating the right job to the right person, they run the risk of not only creating disgruntled employees but also tiring themselves out.

Misappraising Employees

A good manager should know the right metrics to use to assess the employees and their work. Using the wrong yardsticks can give them a faulty idea of who is really skilled or well-intentioned and who is not. Moreover, it will demotivate employees who are actually doing good work and not getting rewarded for it.

Appropriating Credit or Shifting Blame

It is simply evil if you think that as a boss, it is okay to take the credit for the good work of your employees or an ingenious idea your junior came up with. It is worse if you simply avoid accountability when something goes wrong and blame your employees for it. This not only demotivates your employees but also makes them hate you.

Showing “Tough Love”

It is good to tell an employee where and how they need to improve. But it is a deadly mistake to not appreciate their efforts. If you are always criticizing and punishing them, they will lose their interest in doing anything. Rewarding an employee for their good work and providing constructive criticism is the key to a motivated workforce.

Ignoring Employee Goals

While a company has its own objectives, each employee also has a goal in life. It is the duty of the boss to ensure that each of the employees is being worked in a way that aligns with their personal career and life goals. If the employee does not see any hope for personal growth, they will see no point in working well.

Mismanaging Conflicts

A workplace has many different people, all with different opinions and perspectives. It is but natural that there would be conflicts at times. It is the duty of the boss to handle any such situation deftly and placate everyone. Otherwise, hurt feelings can hinder productivity.

Giving Grunt Work

It is almost a rite of passage that an employee, on joining, must do some menial tasks in the beginning as an assessment of their dedication and reliability. But if you keep assigning such useless work that can be automated or handled by others, the employee will lose the enthusiasm to perform.

Losing Your Cool

Many bosses lose their temper and make below-the-belt insults, often in front of the juniors of an employee. This can seriously hurt sentiments and make the employee angry and antagonistic towards you.


Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. But if you, as a leader, do nothing to correct them, you set a bad example for your employees. It can completely destroy motivation and creativity and create a negative work environment. Identifying such mistakes and correcting them in time is crucial to restoring productivity.