5 Things Bosses Do That Really Annoy Employees
We recently looked at some bad habits workers have that annoy their bosses, reduce productivity and prevent them from advancing up the career ladder. Now it's time to examine how bosses can spoil the workplace environment for their employees.
Even if you’re a good boss—as opposed to the one employees hate because he has no idea what he's doing or he's a massive bully—you could still be annoying your staff into a downward spiral of low morale and lost productivity. Here are five ways that bosses annoy employees and make them give less than their best:
Lack of Trust
A boss who can’t let go of certain responsibilities or projects fosters an environment of minimized results and low productivity. If you don't trust your staff to do their jobs right, the message they get is that you don’t think they can do their jobs, which will discourage them from even trying. Of course, every boss needs to know what his employees are doing and he should be delegating responsibility. But he should be sure to let his capable staff figure out how to fulfill those responsibilities and do the jobs they were hired to do. And remember, if you don't trust your workers to do their jobs, you probably aren’t giving them credit when it’s due, which also decreases their motivation.
Someone has to be around to make the difficult decisions, and that's the boss. The manager who can’t act when a tough choice has to be made is a manager with a department full of frustrated staffers. This manager refuses to address performance issues on a project while his employees struggle with someone who isn’t pulling their own weight. Another way bosses avoid conflict is by sugarcoating requests or feedback. When employees get mixed signals about what’s expected of them, everyone—bosses and staffers—end up frustrated with the results. All of these things lead to low morale and very reduced productivity.
In manager school, they don’t teach managers that demanding everything be done right now is a great way to increase productivity. Why? Because when a boss makes ridiculous or impossible demands of his staff, he ends up with an office full of stressed-out workers who too paralyzed to get anything done. It’s not possible for everything to get done at once. Making every task due ASAP or turning everything into an emergency is a great way to ensure that nothing ever actually gets accomplished. Employees have to prioritize. The best thing a boss can do is to help them understand what tasks really do need to be completed first and then allow them to organize their work accordingly.
Also falling into the category of ridiculous demands that will end up destroying morale and productivity is the boss who insists on quick completion of heavy workloads and then requires employees to sit in endless meetings without specific agendas. Meetings are necessary, but they need to be brief and focused. Keep expectations realistic and listen to employees when they are telling you the reality of the timeframe.
Most employees understand that a team has to bond to work well together. But this doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to mandate outside-of-work socializing. When a boss forgets that his staff members have lives outside the job, he can create an environment of bitterness, rather than the tight-knit group he was probably hoping to achieve with “fun” social events.
Another mistake managers make when it comes to this mandatory fun is not being clear about whether or not it is actually required. Setting up a social outing as a “treat” for employees without specifically stating that participation is required and then getting mad at or penalizing employees who don’t participate is a quick way to alienate good workers and find yourself understaffed. Teambuilding events are helpful for morale and productivity, but keep them to a minimum, inside normal work hours as much as possible, and be clear about what’s mandatory and what's just for fun.
As a boss, you expect respect from your employees. But if you aren’t showing them respect in return, you cost yourself money in the form of lost productivity and low morale. Even good bosses will often unwittingly belittle employees, ignoring their ideas or talking over them when they’re trying to contribute—a good way to end any motivation an employee may have to participate or share ideas. It’s damaging and disrespectful for a boss to not listen to his staff when they present ideas or when they’re trying to address issues in a project or the workplace.
Also, something that frequently happens to a busy boss is ignoring messages from employees that require input. If a project needs your input or approval and your staff finds that you constantly take too long to respond to messages, they will slow down their work and everyone ends up frustrated. Finally, the disrespectful boss schedules last-minute meetings with no regard for any prior commitments and personal-life demands employees might have. Treating employees the way you expect to be treated will get you the best work possible and help you retain top workers.