How To Be A De-Motivational Leader

With all this talk of trying to motivate the people around you, I’m concerned that all we’ll do is create a bunch of overachievers. Overachieving is over-rated.

In order to be fair and balanced, I think we need a good lesson in how to demotivate people. It’ll do their over-sized egos some good. Toughen up the masses.

Besides, recent studies show that we’re spending WAY too much time trying to boost everyone’s self-esteem. So let’s step back a bit from the compliment and think more in line with containment.

I really think it might catch on. When was the last time your heard of a conference where they brought in demotivational speakers who gave demotivational advice? The goal would be to bring everything down to the lowest common denominator. The theme could be – United & Conformed: We Are The Weakest Links!

Do you know people who are too excited and too positive? Why not spend some time demotivating them. Here’s just a few suggestions:

Give them MEANINGLESS work.
Nothing says, “You’re not important” more than assigning the mundane tasks to the same person over and over again.

Set expectations extremely low or too high to reach.
And if they get too close to the high ones, sabotage their results.

Ask them to do things you haven’t trained them for.
I love a good POP QUIZ. Keeps the troops on their toes. Let the creative one in your bunch spend an afternoon running the accounting department. C’mon…it’ll be fun!

Don’t just reward one person, reward everyone the same…no matter how much one person worked to pull the thing off.
Equality rules. Overachieving drools. If one person works too hard, it makes all the mediocre ones look bad.

Charge your people for everything.
Paperclips, toilet paper, even their office space. Nothing says you’re part of the company more than being nickled and dimed by the company.

Only talk to them when they do something wrong.
Because if they do something right, there’s plenty of other people to pat them on the back. Why do they need to hear that from their leader? You should only show your face when they screw up. That way, they’ll respect you more…or something like that.

Forget their name…or better yet, keep calling them by a different name that sounds similar.
Look how cool James Bond is! His people called him by a number. He always had to go around telling people his name…Bond…James Bond. That’s cool. Why not call the people in your organization by a number. “Employee #32, please come here and see me…you’ve screwed up again!”

Navigate myopic hubris with appraisals and reviews.
In business, reviews and appraisals are key to understanding where everybody stands. The likes of board reviews and other significant meetings hold high stakes. If a staff member’s confidence veers into overconfidence or cockiness, a real reality check in these instances can be extremely beneficial. A candid conversation about challenges or complexities can be shared in the Board Review process. Putting them on the spot or sharing certain instances can really humble them when necessary. This can create self-awareness and humility when it’s needed the most. 

Claim the credit for your organization’s success. You’re the boss. You deserve it.
You made it happen. You’re in charge. Everyone below you exists for your success. If you take all the credit, nobody gets overconfident. Just make sure you point out the people who messed up when things go bad. Why would you want to take credit for that?

As I look back over this list, I’m surprised more people haven’t caught on to this. I mean, this is why the television show, The Office was so popular…right? I’m just saying…

So ask yourself, How have you demotivated someone today?

Share this Post