I have worked for some real characters and I’m sure most of the people reading this could also share some horror stories. Yet, while I make my travels throughout the country to various businesses, I regularly see displays of poor management practices. In response to my frustration with what I’ve experienced and observed, I decided to list the ten behaviors that destroy employee performance and morale.
1. No goals, no feedback – Employees want to know what is expected and how they are doing. Too often, employees only get attention when they screw up or forgot something, nobody noticed all of the awesome things they accomplished since they have been there. The idea of “If you don’t hear from me, you are doing just fine,” really does not encourage good behavior and a positive work environment. It is the lazy manager’s answer when an employee really is asking for feedback or information.
2. Issues and problems never get resolved – An employee may have decided to bring something to the attention of the supervisor, the supervisor never does anything about it and the problem continues unchecked. This usually happens when the manager either does not consider it as a problem worth getting involved with or just does not have what it takes to act and intervene to help. Basically I’m saying the manager is a wimp and is afraid of controversy, so doing nothing is the safest thing to do.
3. Leadership by computer screen – A company has a software program that displays an incredible amount of detail about everything an employee does all day. The manager never actually spends time on the job with employees, rather every decision or feedback given, is based on what the data shows. When an employee is pressured to respond to the needs of the data, they will find a way to enter information to make you happy and keep you off of their back. Try spending time with them on their job, rather than looking at a screen all day. Maybe this way you will know what is really going on.
4. Public shaming – I’ll just say this . . . Discussion of anything negative about an employee should be private. Believe me, everyone observing public shaming by a manager to an employee will think much less of the manager as a true leader and rally behind the employee. You are not coaching a football game, this is the person’s livelihood, work is not a place to publicly shame anyone. Please use discretion.
5. Stealing credit – This should never happen. I’ve had it happen to me on more than one occasion and it eventually caused me to leave a job. Here is an example: You have an employee or several employees complete a project and perform a phenomenal job. Instead of giving credit to them for doing so well, the manager brags about how well he did getting it done. In some cases gets a bonus for it and gives no credit to anyone in the team.
6. Too Stiff – The supervisor becomes so focused specifically on an agenda that he or she loses touch with reality. No one wants to approach this person. He can’t even take a joke or smile. All attention is strictly focused on the objective without concern about people. People begin to wonder if an alien took over his body. This is great if we are in battle on the battlefield, but not in the day to day operation of a business.
7. Conflicting information – Employees believe the boss is like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Depending upon who is around or what day it is, the supervisor will change the rules or the way a job is supposed to be handled on a whim. Another form of this is when an employee goes to another manager who says not to listen to his or her supervisor but to do something opposite or different. This is way too conflicting and stressful. Everyone must follow the same rules.
8. Not enough information to do the job – Sending people out to do work with limited information or lack of training should never happen. You might as just say they are being put on the path to failure.
9. Micromanaging – Driving people crazy asking for detail, constantly checking on them, telling them you only want things done your way and not listening to ideas. Yes, this will definitely drive people to find a happier place.
10. Shotgun approach to handling problems – What I’m describing here is the manager who has great difficulty handling an issue one on one with an employee. This person will call a meeting with everyone and explain how something will not be tolerated anymore and things need to get better, simply because of something that only one or two people caused. Another example is sending an email and/or text message to the whole company because of some challenge that occurred rather than finding the root of the problem and dealing with it there.
Did you just realize that you do some of these things?
This doesn’t mean you are a terrible manager. Some of the best leaders in the world had to do things wrong before they figured out how to do it best. Breaking bad habits may be very difficult, I recommend getting a journal and keep track of how you have responded to employees and the decisions you made. After a few days go back and read what you’ve done and consider better options. Look up “Bullet Journaling” on line, it may help you. I also recommend the book “The New One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard.
If you would like more information contact me directly at Frank@TheRealFrank.com
I will also be speaking about this subject at the ACCA “Optimize” Conference in San Antonio, Texas on March 4-6, 2019. See you there!