Should Good Manager use Ultimatums - Zinny Factor

Ultimatums are often associated with relationships. If one person in a relationship feels they’re not getting what they deserve, they offer an ultimatum to the other. It’s usually along the lines of “change your behavior or I’ll leave”. 

Speaking of which, we also sometimes see ultimatums in the workplace. Leaders often use them as a form of motivation for struggling or underperforming employees. The concept is similar to the example above, only changed slightly to reflect the workplace. Here, the leader will tell employees they need to improve their work or they will be forced to let them go. Typically, we see actual figures or targets set for the employee in question to aim for. 

The thing is…do good leaders use ultimatums? Is this a genuinely viable and recommended form of motivation? 

No, good leaders don’t use ultimatums

Simply put, the best leaders will never use ultimatums as a form of motivation because they rarely work. They broadcast this idea of a power-hungry boss who cares little about the lives of their employees. You’re hardly going to encourage someone to work hard for you by threatening to fire them. After all, that’s basically what an ultimatum is; a threat.

Even if the employee does work harder to avoid being fired, the chances are they’re working even harder outside of work to line up a new job and escape your toxic work environment. 

What are some better alternatives?

Don’t use ultimatums to motivate employees, unless there’s a really good reason to. For instance, an employee might be toxic in your workplace or just constantly behave poorly. If they’re guilty of blatantly being a ‘bad’ employee, then you can give an ultimatum as a last chance saloon kind of thing. They either buck their ideas up or you let them go. 

More often than not, you can find better ways of motivating regular employees to perform better. One simple idea is to outsource different work to various contractors/ agencies. There are loads of IT outsourcing examples that show this can benefit a company. How does it motivate your employees? They realize that their jobs could be outsourced if they don’t work hard enough.

You’ve not said that this will be the case, and you can even reassure them that it won’t happen, but your employees will be encouraged to work harder just to make sure you never consider it. 

An even simpler way of motivating your employees is by actually treating them well. Pay your employees good salaries, give them bonuses when they do well, and take the time to get to know them. People appreciate being treated like…well…people! They want to feel appreciated and valued – it’s all the motivation they need to work hard and stick with your company for longer. 

Overall, good leaders will never use ultimatums to motivate employees to work harder. It’s a surefire way to create an environment where all of your workers hate you. This will lead to high turnover rates that impact your bottom line. If you’re looking for motivation ideas, don’t opt for ultimatums! What are your thoughts on this? Share below and remember to subscribe to our platform for updates!