Sometimes managers do stupid things and then they wonder why their teams aren’t a…team. For example, a manager attended an orientation meeting for some of his new employees. He gave a short five minute speech and ended with, “I have an open door policy.” Later that week I observed him yelling at an employee by saying, “Don’t you see I am busy here?! Never interrupt me again!” Here are some of the most obvious errors that turn employees off and cause them to start looking for another job.
1. Berate people in front of others
Nobody wants to be embarrassed or deserves to being treated disrespectfully. “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers,” said Stephen Covey
2. Flap your mouth and don’t listen
Managers hold lots of meetings. Our research shows that in two out of three meetings they hold, they do most of the talking and very little listening. One study of 400 companies found that it costs companies $37 B a year in misunderstandings. Companies need leaders that listen and act.
3. KPI (Key Performance Indicators) people to death
All companies need goals and plans. With the explosion of business intelligence data, better software and dashboards, everything is measured. It’s overwhelming. Today, its focal point is often catching people doing things wrong. Why not trust them to perform better?
4. Talk behind people’s back
I have found that the “rumor mills” are often started by managers. Many times they inadvertently criticize an employee or another department. They share this with someone who, really, doesn’t need to hear the information. Sometimes it’s malicious, used as a weapon of office politics to get ahead. These tactics only cause employees to resent leadership.
5. Treat people like children
One manager in an environmental company likes to say, “Employees are like children. You need to give them a little candy or a swat on the a** once in a while but keep them guessing what’s coming”. With attitudes like this, no wonder employee engagement is so low in most companies. Good managers realize that employees are a company’s greatest resource. If you work with them as winners and trust them, they will get the job done well.
6. Hire someone for a job but don’t help them win
One company I worked with had this philosophy, “I hire you to do a job. Do it. If you don’t, we will get someone else.” The company had no formal training for any job. They did have high employee turnover. Check out Fortune magazines top companies. They all give employees tremendous opportunities for growth, learning and development.
7. Inconsistent or fuzzy expectations
While you don’t want to inundate employees with numbers, they do need to know what they are accountable for and how they are doing. One CEO recently confided in me, “ We pay out a lot of bonuses but we don’t always let people know why they are receiving them”. In a different company, another manager was fired as a result of constantly changing goals that confused and demoralized his team.
8. Ask for input but don’t use any of it
This destroys many employee engagement surveys, and employee morale. The input and data is collected and it’s never applied. No wonder leadership distrust is prevalent.
9. Play favorites with some employees
Favoritism breeds resentment, and destroys employee morale. Companies like Indeed and Glassdoor provide company reviews and employee feedback. Employees’ comments show that favoritism doesn’t build teamwork. They hate it; so stop it.
10. Too many rules
When there are too many SOPs, policies and checklist, distrust will prevail. Distrust adversely affects employee attitudes. With the explosion of data in the workplace many companies are adding layers of rules. These eventually stifle employee creativity, productivity, and engagement.
Pulling it All Together
Managers that lead the way, communicate well. They treat people with respect and develop their team to achieve better results. They realize the above antics don’t work. Their opportunity for success is to do what author Liz Ryan says, “Create a more human workplace.”
What would you add to the list?
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