Your employees are a big part of the success or failure of your business. Knowing how to motivate employees is a key to that success. Your employees must care if your business is to succeed.

There are many articles and opinions on motivational theory. The problem with most is that it misapplied. There are reports that some employers have gone to childish extremes that make no sense at all. Examples included spanking employees, drawing mustaches on low-performing employees’, and forcing misbehaving employees to wear diapers. These techniques are likely to chase away low performing employees, and will leave the top performers wondering what’s next from this foolish employer.

It is said that some plan is better than no plan at all. That’s likely correct, but I want you to have a sound basis for your plan. This article will touch on mistakes to avoid in workplace motivation, and my second article will look at the positives of how to motivate employees.

Are You the Problem?

First and foremost, you have to understand that you are one of the biggest factors in employee motivation. You set the standard. If you are stressed or angry, your employees will pick up on it and begin to feel the same way. Employee satisfaction and motivation has everything to do with you.

If you act as though you don’t care or that the business is doing poorly, they will follow your lead. Your actions and attitudes impact everyone around you, whether at home or in the business. When considering how to motivate employees, you must pay attention to this.

What do your actions and attitudes communicate? Many don’t know that this is a problem for them. Be on the safe side, ask someone you trust whether this is an issue for you.

The Fear Factor

Many employers choose to motivate through fear. Remember the example of the foolish employer I mentioned? Threats of loosing a job or creating an environment where any failure by an employee is harshly dealt will never work. In a short time the employee becomes unhappy, either leaving their position or only doing what they must in order to get paid and go home.

Let’s Get Personal

Thinking about how to motivate employees, a good alternative may seem to be to develop close relationships with those you work with. You do need to have good relationships with those you work with, but becoming too close to employees is liable to backfire over the long run.

Maintaining a friendly relationship with your employees is important, but allowing interpersonal relationships to become too close will jeopardize the working relationship.

Once you are close friends with an employee, work decisions and personal decisions start to intertwine, and you risk losing control of business situations. While being friendly with employees is certainly recommended, it is very important to always maintain a professional boundary, particularly while in the work place.

As we see, there are many mistakes one can make in employee motivation. The biggest though, is not to have a plan to develop that motivation.Read my article on how to motivate employees for some keys to success. If you looking for something in more depth, take a look at my eBook on “How to Motivate Employees“.


by Steven Schlagel