If you ever want to really damage an employee, take away his or her freedom.
When the person presents an idea, tear it down right away every time. If the person acts with autonomy with a customer or another employee, immediately scold him or her and make it clear to never act independently again.
There’s a reason that people have given their lives for the cause of gaining freedom for their countries. Freedom is the underlying reason why people are able to maintain their personal dignity and their self-esteem. When a person loses the sense that he or she has some self-control over what to do in the future, his or her dignity, self-esteem and ability to add value are diminished.
If you want to enhance a person’s capacity to add value to your business, then increase the person’s room to make decisions and determine his or her future actions. Freedom is not just good for a society. It’s also good for a business. Of course, the values of your organization have to be clear and general parameters (financial, time frame, and so) have to be defined, but then allow the person freedom in how he or she handles different situations. It actually demonstrates great maturity on your part.