I’m sure that most people reading this article know somebody who has cringe worthy tales of a nightmarish boss, or you may even have had the misfortune to work for one yourself. Though in retrospect we can (normally) laugh about it, at the time it was probably an uncomfortable and demoralising experience.
Whether it be going off on power trips, backstabbing, showing blatant favouritism or inappropriate behaviour, some bosses, intentionally or unintentionally, seem to pit their workers against each other so as to prevent anybody from potentially challenging their own position.
And there are other bosses just simply don’t seem to have a clue how to manage their teams, with the result that everybody winds up feeling like headless chickens, with no leadership, no goals and no direction.
Both of these types of behaviour from the person supposedly in charge will have a negative impact on employee morale and motivation, which in turn will cause the business to suffer in the long-term. As they say, “Team work makes the dream work,” – we need to get our employees on side, motivated and pulling in the same direction if our business is to grow successfully.
Plenty of books have been written by managers, executives and CEOs on the topic of managing your team. In spite of the wealth of information readily available, a lot of bosses simply don’t know what does and doesn’t work. It’s not always for a lack of trying; some bosses aren’t taught correctly, or were promoted before they were ready. If you are, or soon will be, in a position of authority over other people, understanding the failures and shortcomings of other bosses will help you become a better leader.
The following are 3 of the most common failings displayed by managers that cause employees to feel dissatisfied with their jobs. So if you’re doing any one of them – stop it now!
1) Not Following Through
Your word is largely synonymous with your perceived worth as a leader. Promising things to your team and then forgetting or failing to do them will destroy their trust in you as a manager and a leader.
So if you promise to train a person for a new position, do it. If you promise a certain project to a team, make sure they get it. If you say that you’ll reward your team for achieving a goal and they manage to do it, give them no less than exactly what you promised. This will show your team that you deserve their loyalty and respect, which will make them want to work harder for you.
2) Showing Favouritism
It’s natural that you’ll prefer the company of one person over another – some personality types simply mesh together better. Or you may be working with friends or family members, you you’ll naturally feel an affinity with. But regardless of what your personal feelings are towards somebody, you must not let that cloud your judgement as a manager.
So many bosses are willing to let people they like get away with things, or give them more than they deserve, based on their contribution to the business, and it is incredibly unfair to everybody else who works hard and doesn’t get recognised for it. On the other hand, bosses may crack down unfairly on those they don’t like so much. In this situation, it’s quite obvious to all the people working under you who you do and don’t like, and this will cause resentment and disharmony within the team.
So make sure you are fair and impartial to all your staff, and that everybody gets a fair chance to prove his or her worth. When you base your appraisals of a person on their results and not on personal factors, you get so much more from your team.
This doesn’t mean you can’t show approval to employees that do well – a person who adds value to your business has earned the right to be recognised and rewarded, but this must be on the basis of their performance, not due to your personal preference.
3) Basing Decisions on Emotions Rather than Facts
As a business owner, it is your responsibility to do what is best for the business as a whole, and this sometimes means you’ll need to make decisions that will be unpopular with your team, such as restructuring or making posts redundant. Happily, you’ll also be in a position to create jobs and promote people who have shown their worth to the business, from time to time. In both circumstances, you need to be able to distance yourself enough from the people involved to be able to do what is right.
Whether you’re sacking, employing or promoting team members, you must make sure that your decisions are always backed up with solid evidence and facts – as much as you might like or dislike somebody or something, acting in a manner that is contrary to the business’ bottom line will eventually catch you up.
In these situations, discussing your though processes with an independent person (such as your coach) can help you to ensure you’ve made the right decision.