Seven ways to demoralise your team

| 2 June 2023

Most leaders don’t want to do a bad job. But let me tell you that if you’re doing any of the seven things below regularly, your team are likely to be fed up, demoralised and demotivated.

Change just one of these things and you’ll be taking a big step forward and your team will thank you.

  1. Keep cancelling those 1-1s because ‘something else came up’ (your team love playing second fiddle to your email list or your unmet deadlines or the latest crisis) whilst spouting those words ‘our people are our greatest asset.’
  2. Chair meetings with no clear purpose and no clear outcomes. Let the same people speak or just speak yourself, for the whole time, with no input from your team. (They love being talked at). And then arrange another meeting about that meeting. Or ask everyone to share what they are working on this week – just why?
  3. Never explicitly show appreciation – they know you’re pleased with what they do (because mindreading is one of the behavioural skills you insist on).
  4. Give vague feedback – ‘you’re doing fine’ or ‘you could do with improving your communication’. Yeh, that’s clear.
  5. Tell your boss that those great ideas came from you (giving no credit whatsoever to your team members who thought of them). Unaddressed sibling rivalry somewhere in your past?!
  6. Not dealing with that poor performer/slacker/time waster in your team – hoping it will all ‘work out fine in the long run’. It won’t, and your team are p****d off that you’re not dealing with it as they carry the extra workload.
  7. Empire building, silo building, points scoring, bad-mouthing other colleagues – none of this is helping anybody get the right things done and it’s not setting a great example of what good leadership looks like. Be the one who builds bridges not walls (we know what kind of leaders build walls).

Of course, none of us is perfect and nobody expects us to be.

But if you’ve got a boss who ticks all of these seven boxes regularly (or even two or three of them) how do you feel right now?

I’m pretty sure you’re updating your CV and LinkedIn profile and scouring those job boards right now.

Aren’t you?