How To Manage A Demotivated Team Member Part 2

In my previous blog post, I shared some surprising data about employee engagement in the US and UK. It is a well-known fact that an engaged employee is a happy employee. Similarly, a happy employee is a motivated and productive employee 

It’s concerning to know that between 65 and 70% of UK and US employees are disengaged because we are aware this means that many of these individuals will also become demotivated as a result. 

In part 2 of this article, I want to share what the signs are that managers need to look out for and importantly what can you do remotivate employees.  

The starting point then is those early warning signs, the sooner you notice them, the quicker you can manage the situation and open a conversation with your team member.


What Can Cause An Employee To Be Demotivated?



There are a variety of warning signs that indicate one of your team members is becoming demotivated and it will be personal to each individual, which is why it is important that you know your team members. (See later)

  • A pattern of taking the odd day off for sickness when they are rarely sick. 
  • Arriving at work ‘just in time’ and leaving at ‘the close of play’. 
  • Staying quiet in meetings when previously they would be creative and contributing. 
  • Lack of proactivity. 
  • No longer volunteering or asking for additional responsibility. 
  • Poor attention to detail and mistakes being made.
    (Now don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to make mistakes, but these are the kind of errors that
    wouldn’t normally be made by this person) 
  • Not engaging with colleagues and avoiding social activities with the team. 
  • Productivity: this usually decreases because of the above. 

What To Do About It 

People are generally self-motivated by their own set of values that they gained from their own upbringing, education and life experience.

Some are motivated by meaningful work, challenges, and a desire to contribute as I have mentioned; while others are motivated by rewards, promotion, and public recognition.  

Having said that nothing motivates a person more than a sense of:  

  • Belonging 
  • Knowing you are trusted by colleagues and your manager 
  • Feeling happy and wanting to go to work

To create an environment where your team members can feel like this, follow these suggestions and see those demotivated team members become engaged and productive once again.

Have a vision

Communicate it and help each team member to connect with it.

Invest In Relationships



Get to know your team members as individuals. Take time to understand what is important to them about their roles, careers, aspirations, family and hobbies.

The more you know about each team member, the more effective you will be at inspiring them and knowing how to maintain their motivation. This is also an opportunity to share a little about yourself and what’s important to you.

When you are open, it sends a message to say ‘it’s ok to talk about what’s really important.’


Create Development Opportunities

Work with each team member to create opportunities outside their day to day role where they can develop their knowledge of different functions in the organisations and learn new skills. This will allow you to delegate and create new development opportunities for yourself.


Empower Individuals

Your team members want some autonomy or want to feel in control. Communicate your expectations, let them know what the desired goal is and then give them the space to go and  achieve it.

Agree on some check in points so you can both review progress and let them know you are there for support.

Let Your Team Members Know They Are Valued 

It frustrates me when I hear participants on programmes express their lack of motivation and how undervalued they feel.

It really does take such little time to let each team member regularly know through motivational feedback and performance review conversations how much you value their: activities, results, team working, hitting deadlines, going above and beyond to help colleagues hit a deadline, I could go on. 

Yet the impact of not doing this one simple management action can be huge.


Talk To Your Demotivated Team Member



If you have implemented all the above and you still have a team member or two who are showing signs of demotivation, have a conversation with them and do it sooner rather than later.

As Stephen Cover Senior said in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, “Seek First To Understand”.

Share with your employee the behaviours that you have noticed that are different to how they usually are and give them the opportunity to explore what the underlying cause is. Not everyone will
open up straight away.

They will, however, know that you have noticed and that you have taken an interest in them. If it persists, a further coaching conversation would be wise to help the team member identify their own cause. It’s not unusual for people to ‘feel demotivated’ and not be 100% sure as to ‘why’.

If you find this kind of conversation uncomfortable, this may help.


What Next? 

Ask yourself, how well do I really know each team member? When you do, you will be in a better position to spot the early signs of a demotivated team member.

Also, it’s helpful to reflect on what is it that you many not have been doing and what you can start doing differently to minimise this happening to other members of your team?

Until next time,