(ps: these are based on my experience of working in a team)
1. Not valuing what he or she does: There are hundreds of tasks involved in any team. Definitely some of these are of higher priority than the others. Similarly, there are some tasks with have more “interesting” aspects to it than others. People who are assigned lower value tasks gets de-motivated faster especially when some bright guys deserve some better work. And to add to that, management forget about giving attention to these people and tracking their work (because of higher priorities). Why hire people when you don’t need them?
2. Uneven work distribution: Dividing work equally among people is a difficult task. If this difference is substantial, over-worked people gets tired and under-worked people get bored. Both the condition leading to frustration and hence demotivation.
3. Incompetent compensation/rewards: I don’t think this point needs any more explanation. If one is getting lesser than what one is worth, he or she will be always on lookout for greener pastures. Jab yahi job, yahi responsibilities jyada paiso/stock options mein mile..to koi ye kyoon le, wo na le? There are exceptional cases where an employee is very so loyal to a company that he/she will miss this kind of opportunity [I am yet to find such cases].
4. Favoritism: If rewards are no longer linked to your performance, nobody is going to make even an effort. Incentive-caused-bias as its worst (more on that later sometime).
5. Not communicating effectively: Let us sat a company is working on some strategic and crucial project. If employees do not understand the significance of this project and they are working just mechanically, they will loose interest if the work is not “interesting”. On the other hand, they can work more productively without getting bored if they understand the big picture.
6. Micro-management: Needless to say, if management puts is foot in smallest of the task that employee does, there is no room for someone to make decisions. This wastes lot of time of management and hampers the responsibility taking ability of people.
7. Not understanding what he or she does: This point is somewhat related to the first point and specifically applicable to technical teams. No matter how breakthrough product/process you discover, if your boss does not understand it to appreciate it, there is no reason to do it. No incentive-no breakthroughs.
8. Not valuing an employee or his opinion: This is a big blow to anyone’s ego. This is sure-shot way of loosing an employee and a bad way of firing.