At IncentViz, we know that people matter, and we know that our customers feel the same way. This was a key theme in our recent post about fostering employee engagement, but how about some hands-on tips for management? This list of eight leadership DOs and DON’Ts covers the keys to motivating employees and what common pitfalls to avoid.


1. Value EQ

Recognize the necessity to cultivate a culture of Emotional Intelligence. EQ is just as important as IQ, and sometimes even more so. Understanding and relating to others is vital to success, both at an individual and corporate level. According to “How Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Build Better Teams” by Rohini Venkatraman, this entails establishing team agreements around collaboration, having top-down meetings, and even creating a team ritual that allows people to connect on a personal level.

2. Leverage differences

Take time to recognize the unique traits and drivers of the individuals in your company. Everyone operates differently. Rohini also writes, “The beauty of a team is that it invites a diverse set of people to come together. As in most social situations, problems arise when team members expect others to work and behave the same way they do.” She recommends holding an open discussion at the beginning of each project, discussing how everyone likes to work, stressors, personal strengths, opportunities, and goals.

3. Praise

Give positive feedback when deserved! First, make sure to clearly explain the process, objectives, and management expectations for any given project. Then, when your employees do a fantastic job, don’t assume they already know you think so! Praising work well-done is key to boosting employee morale. Kind words can even be valued more than tangible rewards.

4. Incentivize

Customize your reward system. Go one step beyond recognizing how people work in a when collaborating on a project, and translate that knowledge into devising effective incentives. Your sales associates, accountants, and management all may have different motivations and barometers for success, therefore they also should be measured and rewarded accordingly.


1. Micro-manage

After spending your valuable time and resources vetting and hiring candidates, ideally you have assembled a talented team. Let them do what they do best, without creating the feeling that you are undermining them by looking over their shoulders.

2. Overwork

According to Travis Bradbury, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, this can be a particularly troublesome pitfall. In an article for Inc., he explains, “Nothing burns good employees out quite like overworking them. It’s so tempting to work the best people hard that managers frequently fall into this trap. Overworking good employees is perplexing for them as it makes them feel as if they’re being punished for their great performance.”

3. Make Unnecessary Barriers

Bradbury goes on to share the dangers of constraining your employees. He writes, “Talented employees are passionate. Providing opportunities for them to pursue their passions improves their productivity and job satisfaction, but many managers want people to work within a little box. These managers fear that productivity will decline if they let people expand their focus and pursue their passions. This fear is unfounded. Studies have shown that people who are able to pursue their passions at work experience flow, a euphoric state of mind that is five times more productive than the norm.”

4. Stagnate

Management that seems inflexible, or overly adherent to red-tape (without so much as questioning the need for certain policies), can be demoralizing. This can have the effect of limiting your team’s natural creativity, which – leveraged correctly – can be one of your greatest assets.

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At IncentViz, we help managers lead their teams through optimizing incentives. Ready to learn more? We’re happy to set up a demo and discuss how IncentViz could work for you.

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