Chocolate Pillow | How to de-motivate your staff
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How to de-motivate your staff

11 Oct How to de-motivate your staff

There are articles numbering the high thousands or even millions, that tell you how to motivate your staff.  So rather than write another one of those, I decided to tell everyone how to de-motivate their staff as this will really emphasise just how your every day actions in business and management can be damaging your staff morale…..


  1. Fail to recognise hard work.  It is after all only part of their job description, even if it isn’t, you can always add it in later!  The virtue of hard work is one that is over-rated anyway, the staff just do their job and it can be hard work at times, but everyone has to do a bit of hard graft every now and then.  Recognising hard work just sets a standard that people will be rewarded for doing something they are already paid to do.
  2. Berate staff at the slightest error.  It is important to never, ever, allow your staff to think that mistakes are acceptable.  Errors, omissions, accidents and mistakes all happen, but only because the staff member let them happen.  To allow them to get away without spending ten minutes analysing, berating and downright criticising them is just unacceptable. To ensure you have time to do this, schedule 20 minutes a day to carry out this act.
  3. Scold any staff member that dares to help out other departments.  How can a team function properly and learn the virtues of their roles if other people help them out all the time?  Staff should work in their own department and stick to their own role at all times; they are not properly trained in other departments, even if it is only photocopying or answering a call – unless they are trained in it they should not be doing it.
  4. Vent your anger at people.  Even if it is not their fault.  Anger is better out than in, and telling people how you feel is just honest and open; if someone is there and you are angry, take it out on them regardless of who is to blame.  Screaming at a cleaner is much better than trying to find out why the sales manager decided to decline an event.
  5. Don’t give anyone any direction to work in.  As a boss, you are simply here to tell people what to do and when to do it; they do not need to know why things are done or what the ultimate goal of the business is.
  6. Demand to be referred to as ‘Mr’, ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs’.  The use of first names is far too familiar for your minions and underlings.  How dare they think that they can have the right to address you by your first name?  Using your first name will engender trust, make you approachable and (unbelievably) make you a human being.  As a demi-god of your business it is vital that everyone knows their place, doesn’t speak unless spoken to and bows at least 2 inches every time you are in the vicinity.
  7. Never help out.  You have worked for years to get to your current position, and you are paid too much to carry plates, answer phones and actually deal with customers.
  8. Tell people, don’t show them.  If someone does not know how to do something, this is their problem and they have to find the materials to learn.  You have to manage the business, not spend time showing people how to do their jobs better.  Quite simply they need to understand that if they cannot do the job, someone else will!
  9. Time off is for wimps!  Calling in sick has a massive effect on the business and you would only call in sick if it was really important, like having a delivery or something; vomiting, diarrhoea, contagious infections are all excuses you have heard a million times and they don’t actually exist.  Even if someone is ill, it is their fault anyway so they should just take some paracetamol and get on with it – that broken leg, missing arm or diabetic coma can be seen to after work – people just don’t realise that they only work 8 or 9 hours a day so they have a good 15 hours a day to other stuff like sleep and get medical attention.   Oh, and unless the person who is sick rings in themselves, even if they are in a coma or totally unable to for any reason, then they can kiss their job goodbye; also remember that if they are well enough t call in sick, they are well enough to come to work!
  10. Change is a bad thing – Rules cannot be broken (or even slightly bent!).  Rules, policies and procedures are there for a reason – if they worked throughout the 70’s and 80’s then they are good enough to work now.  Changing things would mean that current processes and business methods could need to be altered and who knows what that could do to the status quo of the business.

Follow the above rules and you will be well on your way to de-motivating your staff and creating a culture of fear, robotic staff and autocratic management!  Just what every business needs!


Matt Shiells-Jones

Husband, Author, Hotel Manager and ambitious 'old cat lady'

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