You’ve heard it a hundred times, “A great manager can motivate anyone.” Hogwash.

The fact is some slackers simply don’t care and are beyond motivation.  And it’s a waste of your limited time and energy to keep trying.  If you’re sick and tired and stressed out because you’ve accepted responsibility for motivating slackers, prepare for the inevitable effects of continued frustration and emotional pain.  You’ll be exhausted, burn out and get physically ill.

Unfortunately, managers often find themselves pressured to motivate everyone.  And both they and their bosses may see these managers as failures when they can’t pull it off.  It’s time to give them a break.

To read the rest of this article from the Business First of Louisville, see: Don’t stress out trying to motivate slackers

Many slackers are like teenagers who don’t want to take out the trash or clean their rooms.  They pretend they’re not responsible or don’t know how.  They act as if there’s a debate going on between them and their managers, and they don’t have to do the work unless they like the bribe.  Slackers are sneaky, manipulative bullies.

Motivating your employees is an important part of being a good manger.  It’s also important to recognize the ones who can’t be motivated, so you don’t waste time trying to do the undoable.

If they’re not performing, let them know immediately and link consequences and rewards to performance.  You can’t make them happy enough to work hard.  If they don’t respond to praise or fear with increased productivity, let them look for a job where they’ll be appreciated for slacking.  Or, maybe, a termination will change their slacker attitude.

You’re not looking for people who require constant motivation and micromanagement.  You’re looking for people who come to you inspired and eager to face challenges, who take responsibility and who succeed.

Keeping a slacker forces good performers to pick up that slack.  You’re simply spreading the stress around so you don’t have to bear the whole burden.  That’s a poor reward for a good performer.  It’s as if you’re saying, “I can count on you so I’m going to give you a bonus of extra work.  We’re going to continue paying that underperforming slacker while you carry their slack in addition to the two jobs you already do.”

The most dismal cases are in organizations that promote slackers to management or allow slacking managers to stay.  That  spreads slacking over a wider territory.

In the real world it’s everyone’s job, including a president or CEO, to motivate his supervisors that he’s worth keeping.  Why should it be up to your managers to motivate the slackers on your payroll?  Slackers should be working hard to motivate you to keep them.

Slackers create the same symptoms.  Performance decreases.  Behavior sinks to the lowest level tolerated.  Narcissists, incompetent, lazy, gossip, back-stabbing, manipulation, hostility, crankiness, meeting sabotage, negativity, relentless criticism, whining, complaining, cliques, turf control, toxic feuds, harassment, bullying and abuse thrive.  Power hungry bullies take power.

Don’t waste your valuable people time on slackers.  You won’t make things better being a peacemaker.  Begging, bribery, endless praise, appeasement, endless ‘second chances,’ unconditional love and the Golden Rule usually encourage more harassment, bullying and abuse.  Stop emotional bullies and stop bullying.

High standards protect everyone from unprofessional behavior.  You can learn to eliminate the high cost of low attitudes, behavior and performance.

All tactics are situational.  Expert coaching and consulting can help you create and implement a plan that fits you and your organization.