Are You a Motivation Killer?

This is a simple question that most of us would be afraid to answer – “Are you a motivation killer?”

Very few of us ever set out to be a motivation killer, but almost everyone at sometime will have taken action or made a comment that will have extinguished, or flattened, the motivation of another.

Think about the time that a team member went out of their way to do something extra and you commented that wasn’t their job; when a colleague decided to go for that special project and you said it couldn’t be done; when your partner organised a lovely dinner out only to find you were too busy or too tired to bother; or when your child did their best but it wasn’t up to your standard.

These could all be considered small things to you, but to another person it is a big deal. But the idea of motivation is all about how the other person perceived it. If in their mind it was seen as criticism or apathy, then it was definitely a motivation killer.

All of us are pushed in a variety of directions by powerful psychological, cultural and physiological needs. Most of us strive for food, air, shelter, love, mastery, self-acceptance, achievement, etc. These needs usually increase our motivation in positive directions.

On the other hand there are many circumstances that can push us in negative directions, including feelings of inferiority, desires to avoid responsibility or success, lack of self worth, rebellion against pressure situations, etc.

We generally try to increase desired motivations and decrease negative ones, but often are guided by the actions and comments of others.

So what can you do to avoid being a motivation killer?

  1. Slow down and gain awareness into what motivated the other person to this action
  2. If you must offer criticism, “sandwich” it between to supportive comments.

With just these 2 points you will turn the focus from yourself to the other person, and just that act can be the best motivation you can give.


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