5 Motivation Killers Leaders Must Avoid

Demotived EmployeesWhen the opportunity presents itself, I like to ask people what motivates them and what hinders their motivation. I’ve asked this question to a wide variety of people from teenagers to business owners and CEOs. Young and old. Rich and poor. And people from all around the world.


I’ve even asked this question to a Super Bowl winning head football coach a few months ago.


The answers I’ve received for what motivates is very broad. Most of the answers were intrinsic in nature, but they were varied. In contrast, the answers I’ve received related to the question of what hinders motivation have been surprisingly consistent.


Here are the top 5 motivation killers and a statement that represents the sentiments I hear.


  1. Leadership Lacks Integrity –  “My leader(s) doesn’t walk their talk.”
  2. Lack of Trust – “I don’t know my leader(s) well enough to trust them.”
  3. Overwhelm – “I feel overworked or overstressed”
  4. Poor Communication – “I don’t understand our direction and how I contribute.”
  5. Feeling Devalued – “I’m not respected for what I do or who I am.”


Each of these “Motivation Killers” can serve as a bright red warning light for leaders. Posing each as a question can be an effective way to assess our impact as leaders.


  • Am I consistently walking the talk (doing what I say I will do or expect others to do)?
  • Am I currently building a healthy relationship with my employees?
  • Are my employees overwhelmed with the amount of work they are being given?
  • Am I consistently communicating our vision, mission, goals, and how each person contributes to them.”
  • Am I telling my employees often how valuable they are to our team and organization?

Peter Drucker once said, “Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help to orchestrate the energy of those around you.” How is your behavior helping you orchestrate rather than kill the energy of the people you lead?


Image courtesy of Ambro via freedigitalphotos.net