Do You Take Full Responsibility For Your Employees' Level Of Motivation?

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Do You Take Full Responsibility For Your Employees' Level Of Motivation?

What is your perspective on who is responsible for ensuring employee motivation?

Opinions about this topic can vary, which is why the goal of this blog post is to show you the advantages that come with taking full ownership of this.

When The Employee Is Seen As Responsible For His/Her Motivation

When employees are seen as responsible for their own motivation in their jobs, they are expected to engage and offer their best to perform well and achieve the company’s goals.

An employee can indeed put forth effort to do their job well and produce excellent results, but without motivation, this behaviour can’t be sustained for an extended period. Motivation ensures the persistence of their efforts.

For example, new employees often strive to showcase their skills and capabilities, but if their engagement is not sustained by the company—through compensation systems or recognition of their efforts—or if they encounter conflicts with co-workers or their boss, or other work-related challenges, their commitment will decrease.

Even if they are intrinsically motivated by their job’s tasks and responsibilities, the way they are asked to perform their jobs, how they are led, the work processes, or the work environment and culture can lower their motivation level.

If we consider it their responsibility to be motivated by their jobs, they should attempt to change the things they dislike. However, all they can do is communicate these issues to management. In the best-case scenario, they are heard, and changes are made. In the worst-case scenario, things don’t change, and they may become disengaged, resulting in resource losses for the company, or they may leave, incurring costs for the company.

Another issue with this approach is that not all employees communicate their concerns and the aspects they dislike about their jobs. They keep them quiet, but these can be reflected in their behaviours and actions, affecting their attitudes and results. Thus, leadership remains unaware of these concerns and does not consider addressing them.

Employer Focus When The Employee Is Seen As Responsible

If the employee is the cause of  the behaviours that arise from lack of motivation, the focus is on changing the employee’s behaviours or attitudes. 

When an employee behaves or performs at a level that displeases the employer, or when an employee leaves the company, thoughts like the following can occur:

”He is disengaged. He doesn’t care”.

”She doesn’t know how to do those tasks.”

”He wasn’t a good fit, he wanted something else.”

”Let her go pursue her passions somewhere else.”

”That person only annoyed me.”

”He left for more money.”

”He had low competencies and he didn’t know how to do his job well. He wasn’t capable.”

”He didn’t take responsibility for his activities. He didn’t care.”

The limitation of this approach is that it doesn’t help the employer develop and prevent these kinds of situations in the future.

Shifting The Responsibility From The Employee To The Employer

If you focus instead on what you, as an employer, have done or not done that led to those unwanted or dysfunctional behaviours, you’ll focus on finding solutions that create frameworks that prevent them.

Let's Take Some Examples

Instead of Saying

We Can Consider:

”She doesn’t know how to do those tasks.”

”I assigned her tasks that are higher than her capabilities. I should provide more support until she learns how to accomplish them.”

”He is always late at work.”

”What measures should we take to ensure that employees respect the work schedule.”

”He wasn’t a good fit; he wanted something else.”

”Maybe we did something wrong in the selection process. We didn’t ask enough questions about his future plans, how he wanted to grow professionally, or we didn’t investigate enough to determine if he would be motivated by the job’s tasks” or
”We didn’t offer him what he wanted.'”

”Let her go pursue her passions somewhere else.”

”Can we create opportunities for her to do more of what she loves to do, or can we change her job’s responsibilities so she can do what she loves, here, in our company?”

”That person only annoyed me.”

What work circumstances made that person be or act in those ways?
Could it be possible that she felt at a disadvantage compared to her colleague because of her gender?
Could it be possible that she acted like that because her contribution wasn’t recognized or rewarded as she wanted?

”He left for more money.”

”Is my company’s compensation system aligned with the market levels? Maybe I should have asked him about his salary expectations. Perhaps I should offer salary raises periodically based on performance. Was there something else that led him to the decision to leave the company? I should conduct exit interviews with those who leave the company so I can understand their reasons.”

When we take ownership, our focus is on solutions that are within our control. This doesn’t mean that you won’t encounter problematic situations anymore, but it allows you to mitigate them. You may still hire an employee who is not a good fit and have to let them go to preserve the unity and cohesion of your team. You may also encounter cases of low performance, but you can approach them from different angles.


How To Motivate Your Employees So They Care For Your Business And Help You Grow It

Taking ownership can mean changing or improving internal practices, introducing new rules and procedures, holding employees accountable for their work, giving them feedback, enhancing the work environment, and collaborating with experts to resolve situations that you don’t know how to approach. In general, it means taking responsibility for what is happening in the workplace and solving all the situations that stand between the present moment and the goals you’ve set for your company.

You hired people to help you accomplish these goals, but by hiring them you added new responsibilities on your plate. Responsibilities that require specific knowledge and skills, just like any other tasks.

Managing and Leading People Involve Skills Such As:

Organizing Work

Assigning tasks based on each employee level of competencies and skills. Also, taking into consideration their interests and strengths. 

Communication Skills

Being able to transmit clearly ideas, expectations, and give feedback to team members. Also, being able to focus and actively listening team’ inputs and feedback. 

Leadership Skills

The capacity to adapt the leadership style to the employees’ needs and levels of development, their level of motivation, and different situations.

For example:

  • An employee who is at an entry level needs more support in his/her activities through guidance and sometimes moral encouragement. An experienced employee, on the other hand, can be given more autonomy and less supervision.
  • In cases where tasks are less motivating, the leader needs to provide more morale support.
  • Or, in a crisis situation, a directive leadership style may be more appropriate than a participative one, which takes more time.

Empathy Skills

Understanding the needs, concerns, and perspectives of team members is critical. Empathetic leaders can build stronger connections with their teams and address individual needs.

Conflict Management Skills

Conflicts are inevitable and knowing how to handle them will make your life and your team members’ lives easier. Addressing and resolving conflicts in a constructive and fair manner is a key skill to create and maintain a pleasant and collaborative work environment. 

Ignoring these types of skills or failing to develop them will lead to poor results, discouragement, an inefficient work environment, and significant losses such as wasted time, money, energy, and possibly customers, etc.

You can develop these skills on your own through personal learning and by applying different methods, but it will take more time. If you desire speed and quicker results, you can work with an expert or mentor.

Additionally, if you practice them in the wrong way, no matter how much you practice, you will not get the desired results. It’s similar to sports, for example, in tennis: an improper grip and footwork can limit the ability to generate power and control the ball. It can also increase the risk of injuries, especially in the wrists and shoulders.


Assuming full ownership on your team motivation will help create a work structure that build and maintain their motivation. When you actively work on enhancing their motivation, you simultaneously elevate their levels of engagement, boost their overall performance, increase their likelihood of staying with the company, and foster a more positive and productive work environment. Thus, by taking the initiative to prioritize and nurture your team’s motivation, you lay the foundation for a workplace where both individuals and the organization as a whole thrive.


Let me know what are your thoughts about this blog post. If you have questions I’ll be happy to answer them at:

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How To Motivate Your Employees So They Care For Your Business And Help You Grow It