Motivators and De-motivators

When we think of motivators and de-motivators, we are usually thinking of the different ends of the same continuum.

Well, that’s wrong.

The factors that influence job satisfaction are separate and distinct from those that lead to job dis-satisfaction. Job satisfaction and dis-satisfaction are not opposites of each other as the motivators are not opposites of de-motivators.

We are, in fact, talking about two separate continuums. The opposite of job satisfaction is not job dis-satisfaction, but rather, no job satisfaction; and similarly, the opposite of job dis- satisfaction is not job satisfaction, but no job dis-satisfaction.

It is also interesting that the intrinsic factors (or motivators) were the primary causes of satisfaction, and the extrinsic factors (or de-motivators) were the primary cause of unhappiness on the job.

The top two motivators leading to job satisfaction are a sense of achievement, and recognition for the achievement and the top two de-motivators leading to job dis-satisfaction are bureaucratic and unfair company policies, administration, and poor supervision.

Salary is an extrinsic factor, therefore, an average or higher salary does not necessarily lead to job satisfaction. Rather, it leads to no job dis-satisfaction. An inadequate salary however resulted in job dis-satisfaction.

Managing to reduce de-motivators is often much cheaper and more effective than managing to increase motivators; reducing de-motivators often, as a side effect, results in increasing motivators.

Can and how can a good manager or a leader reduce de-motivators to keep their employees engaged?

The critical point here is that all top motivators and de-motivators are things that a good leader can control as they have direct control over an employee’s sense of achievement, the recognition for those achievements, job structure and content, supervisory practices and relationships with employees.

Leaders also have at least partial influence and control over the bureaucracy associated with company policies and administration at the very least, in that they can buffer their employees from the full impact of such policies.

I can offer you many practical and specific tactics to improve your supervisory practices and your relationships with your employees, and to streamline administration practices.

If you want to know more, don’t hesitate to contact me on

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