Avoiding lose-lose missteps
It’s challenging to be the boss. Your Interactions with staff and methods of motivation can make or break a career and play a key role in the success of your organization. A recent Gallup Poll reported that 70% of employees are disengaged. This comes with a high price tag. There’s no doubt that happy employees are productive, as for dissatisfied workers, well, that’s another story. Some companies are now offering enhanced perks in order to hang on to talent but still a percentage of workers remain unenthusiastic and difficult. Why? The answer is usually rooted in poor management. You, the boss, are at ground zero. Flawed leadership can stifle creativity, foster dysfunction and cripple company objectives. Listed here are five management mistakes to avoid, and those most commonly mentioned by unhappy workers.
1. Failure to communicate
As the leader, you set the standard for communication. So how can you improve yours? Stop talking and start listening. Communication must be consistent, clear, and flow in both directions. Managers, who actively listen to front line workers, and value creative ideas, experience better relationships and improved outcomes. Communication skills are about awareness. How does a breakdown in the flow of information affect others? Avoid surprises if at all possible. Connect and cultivate an environment that promotes mutual respect and an open exchange of information. Don’t rely on email as your primary source of contact. Although it’s easy to procrastinate when dealing with sticky issues, do it in a timely manner instead of swooping in with criticism that comes from left field. James Hume, an El Dorado County Sheriff from yesteryear expressed it succinctly. “The art of communication is the language of leadership.”
2. Failure to recognize
Workers who feel appreciated work harder and do more than expected. Bosses who overlook accomplishments and fail to thank their workers but are quick to point out errors and weaknesses, breed resentment and cultivate negativity. Recognition whether private or in the presence of peers, fosters good will and makes workers feel valued.
3. Playing favorites
Favoritism is a major reason for angst, stress and demoralization at work. A personal relationship between the boss and another employee should never impact policy and procedure in the workplace. You may have seen favoritism in action. The favorite makes mistakes that are overlooked while others are disciplined for less important infractions. These scenarios pit workers against each other and create divisions. Tongue wagging becomes the order of the day and more time is spent gossiping and complaining than getting work done.
4. Doesn’t walk the talk
The boss in this scenario expects employees to work diligently, produce results and come in on weekends if necessary. They’re also expected to keep cool and remain calm in a crisis. However, they don’t hold themselves up to the same standard. Many with this philosophy will not to pitch in to help when staff is overstretched. They feel their elevated position sets them apart. Bosses who don’t practice what they preach make coming to work a chore for their employees, which is why many do not stick around.
5. No career path
Without a career ladder low morale often results. Employees will likely look elsewhere for growth opportunities if they want to succeed and often do so out of necessity. An upward track motivates, inspires, and increases energy and enthusiasm. Although getting a promotion usually means a salary increase, other gestures matter. Elevating an employee who has demonstrated sound skills to a more desirable position shows confidence and a desire to advance career aspirations. Stuck, unchallenged workers, get bored and restless which is the portal to problem behavior. A good manager will recognize and support an employee who is ready to move on if promotional opportunities don’t exist in their current environment.
There are circumstances, of course, where individuals don’t respond to positive management practices in spite of all efforts. If you need to fire somebody, do it straightforward, honest, and face-to-face. Have documentation in tact. You may need it.
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