4 Ways IT Managers Can Kill Employee Motivation

IT managers can kill employee motivation if they are not careful
IT managers can kill employee motivation if they are not careful

Image Credit: Toni Blay

Let’s face it – you’re stuck with the IT team that you have. Oh sure, over time people will leave and new ones will join, but you have basically been given a team and the company expects you to make the most of them. Using your IT manager skills you need to find ways to get the most out of your team. This all comes down to motivation: convincing your team to pull together in order to accomplish great things. We can spend a lot of time thinking about how to better motivate our team, but there is something else that we need to think about: how to not kill the motivation that they already have!

Four Killers Of An IT Team’s Motivation

So what does it take to kill your IT’s team’s motivation? Sadly, not all that much. As an IT manager you need to be aware that your actions are always being watched by your team. This means that what you do can have a significant impact on how motivated they are. Here are four things that you really, really don’t want to be doing:

  • Allowing Toxic People To Join Your Team: If there is anything that can kill a team’s productivity faster than when a toxic person joins the team, I’m not sure what it is. Toxic people spend their time spreading negativity and suffocating the positive energy that your team generates. As an IT manager you need to take steps to prevent these people from joining your team in the first place. If for whatever reason you can’t prevent this from happening, then you need to use your manager authority to make sure that you minimize the damage that they cause.
  • Denying The Team Professional Development Opportunities: So here’s a fact for you: back in the 60’s, the information that you learned while getting a college degree was useful for about 20 years. These days that number has decreased to about 3 years. The members of your team are highly aware of this and they are looking for ways to keep their skills sharp. Just like you need IT manager training, your team also needs ongoing professional training. You need to work with each member of your team and create a professional development plan for them that will meet their unique needs.
  • Missing Vision: Why does everyone come in to work each day? What is the purpose of the work that they do? If you want to keep your team motivated you have to be able to provide them with answers to these questions. Taking the time to provide them with a clearly communicated vision will set their direction and will let people know where to focus their efforts.
  • Wasting Time: None of us, including the members of your team, ever have enough time to get everything done. That’s why if you schedule and invite them to meetings that have no purpose or if you insist on filling up their email in-boxes with nonessential junk mail, you will be seen as wasting their time. The result of doing this is that it’s likely that your workers are going to be deeply frustrated. What you need to be doing is showing people you value them by showing them you value their time. Consider this to be one more way to accomplish IT team building.

What All Of This Means For You

As IT managers it is very easy for us to focus on the things that we can easily control. We know that it is a key part of our job to find ways to get the most out of our teams. This all comes down to finding ways to boost their productivity. What we need to be very careful about is to make sure that we don’t make mistakes and doing things that will kill their productivity.

An IT team’s productivity can be easily killed by our careless actions. If we allow Toxic people to join our teams or don’t take the time to marginalize them if they do, then their influence can have a negative effect on what our team can accomplish. All teams know that their skills are slipping away day by day. This means that creating personalized professional development plans is a must have. If your team doesn’t know where they are going, then you can’t expect them to be productive. You need to give them a clear vision. Finally, time is our most valuable resource. Make sure that you are not wasting your team’s time.

The good news about IT team motivation is that it really does not cost anything. If you become aware of what your team’s level of motivation is and you take steps to not kill it, you can get more out of your team. Your success as an IT manager will be based on what you can get your team to accomplish. In the end, you won’t be able to make them do anything, they are going to have to want to do the things that you need them to do. Be very careful to not kill their motivation and you just might be surprised at what they can accomplish.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What do you think is the best way to measure the current motivation level of a team?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Every once in awhile we ask the most important question: just exactly what does it take to be a good IT manager. I think that we can all agree that there is a certain level of intelligence that is required in order to perform the job. However, in the last few years, people have slowly started to realize that it takes more than just being smart in order to be a good IT manage. You need to be able to connect with the people that you are managing. This means that you need to have emotional intelligence.