The best way to discourage someone is to make them feel like their contributions to work have no value. Despite what you may have heard there are definitely some positives to discouraging people:
- They rarely speak up or challenge anything
- They don’t volunteer for much (they know they wouldn’t be chosen anyway, you already have slots set up for your favorites)
- They are happy with the 1.5% raise you gave them
“But I don’t want those kinds of employees! We have an open door policy here; everyone is encouraged to speak freely!”
Oh really? Well how about these situations that occur on a regular basis at some places?
- You don’t communicate or you make sure your communications are as minimal and obtuse as possible
- Make sure you pick favorites or better yet, make sure there is a small group around the CEO who frequently gets picked for the best projects and no one knows why
- Make sure employees have no access to key decision makers; this ensures that no “wild” or disruptive strategies are put on the table
- Tell people you want different ideas then slam anyone who has the audacity to actually speak up and offer said different ideas.
These happen in a lot of organizations regardless of the size or business. These companies are still profitable so how can this be a bad thing? Well let’s take a look:
- You are overlooking talent that has fresh and different ideas to take your company into the future.
- When employees realize they can’t get anything done they will leave and your competitors will get all their fresh ideas plus competitive intelligence on how you conduct business
- You risk creating a breeding ground for moral and ethical lapses, after all no one wants to speak out
- The status quo will only last for so long. Eventually your customers or the market will look elsewhere…you will be the emperor with no clothes
So there you have it, in order to preserve the status quo and keep making the profits, go out there and discourage your employees, speak out of both sides of your mouth, do all of the above and creatively add to the repertoire. Your reign will be long (or not) and a crappy organization left in your wake.