Managing and motivating employees is one of the most significant pain points for small business owners who don’t have a human resources department. 

As a busy owner, you may not have time to sit with each individual employee. 

It can be exhausting, not to mention you may not have the right communication strategy. 

Do you have an employee who is not hitting performance goals or is unmotivated, despite your best efforts to help them? 

Firing an employee can be costly and cause more headaches in the end. Hiring a third party to come in, assess the situation, and intervene can save you time, money, and frustration. 

Here are 6 things to consider when you have an employee who is difficult, unmotivated, or missing performance goals. 

#1 Understand Yourself 

Before getting to know and understand your employees, it’s important to first understand yourself. To be a great leader, you must understand your own personality, motivators, strengths, weaknesses, stressors, and triggers. As a leader, it’s easy to assume and expect employees to be motivated the same as you. You may find yourself frustrated trying to poke and prod employees along. Once you understand how you operate, you will have more compassion and patience for how others operate. You will learn how to communicate effectively with others who don’t operate the same as you. 

#2 Motivators (Money, fulfillment, leadership, or contribution, etc.)

Every individual is not created equal and therefore, not motivated the same. Once you understand what your employee is motivated by, incentivizing and communicating with them will be easier. Here is an example: You have an unmotivated employee who is stressed about finances, so you offer performance bonuses thinking it will motivate them. It doesn’t work. Why? On the surface level, it appears they want more money. The truth is, they need money, but they really want fulfillment. Where some people are motivated by money, others are motivated by fulfillment. Where some employees want to be leaders, others need to be led. It’s important to understand how to motivate each individual. 

#3 Zone of Genius (Where strengths, skills, talents, and desires intersect)

If you have an employee who seems bored or discontent with their role, even if they are good at it, it’s likely they are not working in their zone of genius. Jealousy, negative attitudes, burnout, and conflict are all signs of somebody who is not working in their zone of genius. These are the employees who get written up. When you can tap into your employees’ zone of genius, you won’t have to work to motivate them. They will naturally be motivated and can help take “work” off your plate mentally, emotionally, and physically. 

#4 Performance Personality (Accountability or autonomy)

As a business owner, you may value autonomy. You trust your employees to get their work done. But, what happens when you have an employee who is not getting their work done? Some personalities need accountability, whereas others thrive and work better with autonomy. Determine what each individual needs and allow for flexibility within your company-wide approach. 

#5 Female vs Male Physiology

Men and women are physiologically different and should be allowed to perform differently. Men are on a 24-hour cycle, meaning they are most productive in the morning hours, followed by an afternoon crash. Women are on a 28-day cycle. Their productivity and creativity are based on the hormones of their cycle. Where men might be more productive in a day, women are more productive in the month as a whole. When you allow your employees to function based on their physiology, productivity, and performance will improve. 

#6 Stressors 

Stress, and how someone handles stress, will directly impact their productivity, performance, and decision-making skills. When you are stressed as an owner, that stress will affect your ability to manage and motivate your employees. Stress changes your decision-making skills and will make it harder for you to help your team members who are stressed. If an employee has life or work stress, it will have a negative impact on their performance and overall team culture. Providing yourself and your team with the tools to identify and manage stress allows for open communication and proactively cuts down on conflict within the workplace. 

To recap, here are the 6 Ways to Motivate Unmotivated Employees:

  1. Get to know your own triggers, stressors, strengths, and weaknesses
  2. Understand what motivates your employees and what doesn’t
  3. Get down to the root cause of negative behavior or poor performance
  4. Give your employees tools to identify and manage stress
  5. Learn how to effectively communicate with each individual employee
  6. Allow your employees to work based on their performance personality type and physiology

At Success Without Sacrifice, we’re on a mission to revolutionize how female entrepreneurs do business. 

Just like pro-sports teams have training plans designed to avoid burnout and injury and achieve peak performance, the RAMP Method™ gives female entrepreneurs a roadmap to structure their day, week, month, and year, so they can be in peak performance at the right time, instead of all the time. 

The RAMP Method™ is a proprietary system created by the co-owner of Success Without Sacrifice, Cheree Sauer. Cheree saw a gap in the marketplace for female business owners. After working with high-performing athletes for 14 years, Cheree became an entrepreneur and experienced burnout. She recognized a need to help female business owners merge the gap between business and life. She brought her knowledge of the industry, sports psychology, sports training, and team performance into the entrepreneurial world to help female business owners continue their success without sacrificing themselves.

There is no one size fits all, which is why the team at Success Without Sacrifice, LLC will work with you in a 1:1 capacity to help you create your RAMP Method™ roadmap that is specific to your business and life goals. For more information, please email