Having the difficult conversation
This could range from: “I’ve a sense that you are a little jaded just now. Would I be right in that feeling?” to a more formal meeting with the unmotivated employee.
However you decide to have your conversation, remember to get to root causes before charting agreed actions toward success. Nervous managers grab a symptom, jump to actions like training before returning to work convinced that they have ticked the box.
Better managers ask more questions: “What specifically?” or “What do you want right now?” are examples or: “On a scale of one to ten how happy are you at work just now?” The scaling question option means you can explore further with for example: “What leads you to a six?”, “What would make it a seven for you?” etc.
As you can tell, the effective manager needs to stay in a resourceful state so that he or she can think. That means remaining assertive. Employees become unmotivated for many reasons. Often what’s a big thing for them is a minor thing to others. Just some examples are lack of confidence with technology, change, feeling of being ‘put down’ at a recent meeting, being ignored after doing a great job.
Lastly, keep your sense of proportion by knowing that the employee spends just one third of their time at work. Factors outside the workplace can lead to the unmotivated employee. Remember though, that it's always a good thing to deal with it positively. If it's a work reason; great because you can get to the bottom of it and solve it together. If it's outside work, you can make work the best sanctuary for them, maybe signposting them to specialist help and finally demonstrate that you care about them.